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Circle of Control Lesson and Activities


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Students need to understand what is inside their control and what is outside of their control. This resource is a great for effectively and engagingly teaching about the circle of control or locus of control. This is the type of resource that you will find yourself pulling out and using over and over again with students! Teaching about what’s in our control is also a great starting point for teaching size of the problem, problem solving, and coping skills.


You can use this resource as a companion to Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day OR skip the story and use the slideshow instead.


This resource includes:

  • Written lesson plan
  • Slideshow for teaching, modeling, and practicing understanding locus of control (great for if you don’t want to use as a book companion)
  • 24 sorting cards representing problems Alexander faces in the book (all including visuals)
  • 24 sorting cards representing other common problems (or concepts) for school age children (all including visuals)
  • Foldable
  • Worksheet
  • Poster (scales up clearly as needed!)
  • Interactive Google Slides TM version of activities

ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors

  • Demonstrate effective coping skills when faced with a problem

CASEL (Social Emotional Learning) Competencies

  • Self-Management
  • Responsible Decision Making

Resource Rationale

Students must understand the difference between things in their control and things outside of their control in order to act responsibly, be effective problem solvers, and cope with challenges. This lesson is hands-on and visual to help students connect with the idea and begin to apply the knowledge to their own lives.


How to Use This Resource

With class lessons, small group counseling, or individual sessions! This resource also works great as part of a problem-solving, responsibility, or coping and resiliency unit.



✨Glowing Praise for This Resource✨


“[…] This will be something we will refer to most of the year for some students. The discussions I listened to in small groups as they talked about each situation while sorting were awesome!!” ~Brianna M.


“Have found myself revisiting this resource throughout this year. Lots of students needing help calming themselves. Great resource to have in your toolkit.” ~Tired Teacher Vibes



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What others are saying...

“I used this with my whole group counseling lesson for all grade levels in my K-5th school. I am very pleased with this resource and my students found it very engaging.”

“This resource was extremely helpful to teach my students what they can and cannot control. I loved the graphics and the way everything was set up.”

“I loved this lesson and have used the cards in so many different ways in my school. Thank you so much!!”