Lesson Plan Guide: Advice from the Real Story

By Matt Andrews on December 26, 2013
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TITLE: Advice from the Real Story
CONTENT AREAS: Choose Your Path, Prepare for Your Path


2-2: Students develop awareness of their social system of support and constraints, and choose associations and behaviors that align with their values, goals and well-being.
3-2: Students prepare socially for life after high school and use their networks to accomplish goals.



  • Write a narrative about three pieces of advice they have been given
  • Read the Real Story from three college students in Student Paths
  •  Write a narrative of potential advice sought on a future path


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

A:A1.5 Identify attitudes and behaviors that lead to successful learning
A:B1.4 Seek information and support from faculty, staff, family and peers


No prior knowledge is necessary.


Three articles from Student Paths: “On the right path, and in the right place,” “Choices made are best for me, but may not be for others,” “Gap year with City Year program is exciting and exhausting”
Students need paper and pencils or a word processor for 20 minutes of writing.
White board to write three reading questions


The goal of this lesson is to make students aware of their social systems of support and how they can get and give advice as part of learning in life. The lesson has three sections: write, read, and write.

Write Narrative of Advice (10 minutes)
Instruct students to write three short stories about times when they remember receiving advice.  The task is to write one paragraph that explains advice the student received in life. Sometimes, students do not think about how and why they are doing what they are doing. And many students forget to ask any questions. Encourage students to use this time to write three pieces of information they use in life, and credit the sources of this information in the short story that describes the advice.
This is not an easy task, so encourage quiet, reflective time for students to write about people they admire, trust and go to for advice. Nothing needs to be done with this information. To conclude, encourage students to thank each one of these people/advisors this week.

Read Real Story selections (10 minutes)
Students will read three stories from high school graduates and answer the three questions below.

Write these three questions on the board:

  • What does Jenna Hubaishy suggest for students who are searching for the right path?
  • What does Macaela Bennett suggest for students who are making decisions?
  • What did Abby Anflnson learn from service learning with Americorps City Year?

Use brief discussion to spark student interest in learning and making decisions after high school.
The answers are direct quotes from the text:

  • What does Ms. Hubaishy suggest for students who are searching for the right path?

    “Research, plan, and ask questions”

  • What does Ms. Bennett suggest for students who are making the decisions?

    “Consider advice from your inner circle”

  • What did Ms. Anflnson learn from service learning with Americorps City Year?

    “Focusing on others is satisfying”

Write Narrative of Future Advice (10 minutes)

There are two more writing tasks for this lesson.
First, provide students 5 minutes to write advice they would give to younger students. Instruct students: Write a short story (a few paragraphs) of a lesson you have learned and advice you would give younger students.
Second, provide students 5 minutes to write advice they may need to seek in the future. Instruct students: Imagine where you are in life in 10 to 20 years and that you must make a big decision. Write a short story that explains how you seek advice for this decision.
There is no need for students to share this information. The reflective stories build meaning and awareness for social systems of support. Encourage students to thank mentors/advisors and seek advice from trusted people when they need it.

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Matt Andrews

Matt Andrews

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