Positive Psychology Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is a tool for helping teachers instruct students about positive psychology. Student will learn how optimism leads to sell-efficacy and greater happiness.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson on positive psychology, students will be able to:

  • Ask and answer questions about positive psychology.
  • Summarize the concepts associated with positive psychology, including optimism, self-efficacy, and happiness.
  • Define content-related vocabulary.


90 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).


  • adversity
  • confident
  • cope
  • depressed
  • external
  • genetic
  • happiness
  • hopefulness
  • optimism
  • pessimism
  • positive
  • self-efficacy
  • self-talk
  • social support network
  • stress
  • therapy


  • Copies of quiz
  • Copies of the lesson
  • Chart Paper
  • Markers
  • Pencils/pens
  • Paper

Reading & Discussion Questions

  • Preview vocabulary with students prior to watching the lesson.
  • Watch Positive Psychology as a class, and discuss the following questions:
    • What is optimism?
    • Turn and talk: Do you think you are an optimist or a pessimist?
    • How does an optimist respond to being laid off a job?
    • How does a pessimist respond?
    • What does Martin Seligman believe about optimism?
    • What is self-efficacy?
    • What are some characteristics of people with high levels of self-efficacy?
    • What are the three layers of happiness?
    • What determines happiness?
    • What did Dan Gilbert discover about happiness?
    • Turn and talk: What is something you can do to improve your level of happiness?
  • Ask if there are any questions, then give the students the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.
  • Check the answers as a class.


Positive Psychology Diagram

Materials needed: copies of lesson, chart paper, markers

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