Stop & Think Social Skills Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Why is it important to stop and think before acting? This lesson plan explains the value of thinking before acting and its role in rational decision making. An activity challenges students to compare and contrast scenarios using a stop and think mentality.

Learning Objectives

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

  • discuss the importance of using the stop-and-think strategy before acting
  • frame problems using the stop-and-think strategy


60 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.


Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.


Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.

Instructions and Discussion

  • Begin by asking students to raise their hands if they have ever done anything that they regret.
    • Would any of you who raised your hands be willing to share your regrets with the class?
    • Do you feel that you fully thought the situation through before acting?
    • Could the outcome have been different if you had stopped for a moment to think about the best plan of action?
    • Are there certain situations where we are more likely to act without thinking it through?
  • Now tell students that they will be practicing how to stop and think before they act.
  • Present the following hypothetical situation:
    • Imagine that you witness someone stealing a candy bar from a convenience store. I'd like each of you to stop and count to ten before trying to decide how you would act. Take a moment to think about the different ways you could respond to this situation.
  • Ask students to share their ideas as a class.
    • What might have happened if you did not take the time to stop and think before acting?
    • What else could we do to improve decision-making in these types of situations?

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