For our Swooper Citizens lesson of the week, we discussed confidence. We asked students to share things that they are good at.

We then discussed the rock wall and asked students how they felt before the first time they did the rock wall.  Many students said they felt nervous. Several had not yet tried to climb the rock wall.

This gave us the perfect lead in to discussing confidence. Mrs. Vanetti beared her soul and told the students that she had NEVER done the rock wall before. Over-confident ME jumped in and said that the rock wall is super EASY. I even suggested that we go an give it a try.

I hopped on and boasted, “This is SOOOOOO easy!” (which it is not, as I slipped off the wall half a dozen times…) I started to get discouraged and said to Mrs. Vanetti, “This isn’t as easy as I thought.” That’s when Mrs. Vanetti started to cheer me on.  The students joined her!

My own cheering section! Boy, did this give me confidence!

Then Mrs. Vanetti gave it a try. She did great!

Next up were the students…..I am so proud of their grit and persistence in trying to climb the wall. For many, it was the first time they had climbed the wall.

After each student had a turn, we returned to the classroom where we discussed what words or actions help build confidence and which squash confidence.  I had been a confidence squasher. That was the moment when Mrs. Vanetti and I came clean…..she admitted that today was not her first time climbing the wall, and I told the students I was pretending to boast and act like I was a pro. Students then shared about what helped them to feel confident and climb the wall. I’m glad they recognized the importance of balancing being confident with being overly confident.


Confidence is an important character trait to possess. When Ms. Atkinson and I were planning a lesson that would teach the importance of confidence, we immediately thought of the rock climbing wall. It was decided the I would scale the wall first and then boast about how great I am and how easy it is to climb. Ms. Atkinson would comment on how she had never climbed the wall before, and she would become visibly upset by my boasting.

Here’s how the lesson worked out:


I climbed…should have worn more athletic shoes…


I boasted….just a little.


I realized how my high confidence level was off-putting to Ms. Atkinson and decided to help her, rather than unintentionally put her down.

The students then each had an opportunity to climb the wall. They were all very encouraging and positive. There was no boasting!



After the climb, we returned to the classroom to discuss the activity. I had an opportunity to clear my name when Ms. Atkinson pointed out to the students that we had planned for me to be overly confident and boastful. She even told the students that we would still be friends. 🙂  We discussed the importance of being confident and the difference between confidence and boasting. Later today students will record their thoughts in their Swooper Citizenship journals. I am excited to see what else they learned from the lesson.