Choice: Jar of Rocks Activity

“Rocks in our Life” Activity
The most important things in life aren't things. --Anthony J. D'Angelo



YouTube video: Jar of Life - Put Important Things FIRST! - 8:18 min.
Have participants will need paper and pencil or digital device for recording ideas

Lesson Strategies:

Strategies for Pairing Learners

Cooperative Strategy: Minute Mania Verbal Fluency - Use this strategy to process the choices concepts below.


 1. Introduce topic of CHOICES with discussion about some the choices we make every day. Have participants brainstorm some of the choices they’ve made already today.

2. Begin the video: Stop the video at 48 sec. and have the participants make a list of some of the ‘little things’ in their life and do a brief pair/share about the things on their lists. Option: To save time just do a pair share about the ‘little things’

3. Stop the video at 2:06 min. and have participants make a list of some of the ‘things that   matter, but aren’t necessarily ‘important’. (Have discussion on definition of ‘important.) Repeat the previous activity. Option: To save time do pair share about the ‘things that matter, but aren’t necessarily important.

4. Stop the video at 2:57 min. and ask participants to brainstorm ‘important’ things in their lives.

5. Questions to ask after lists are made:

  1. Are some of these more important than others?
  2. How would you categorize the items on your list/s? relationships, current needs, goals, etc.?
  3. What does it mean to prioritize? (Use link to dictionary to define meaning)
  4. What would be the first two things if you prioritized your list of important things? WHY? (Extension: do pair share or group discussion)

6. Finish Video. Ask participants to review their lists and make a revised list of the “Big Rocks’, Things that matter, but aren’t important’, and ‘Little Things”. See ‘Rocks in a Jar Worksheet’. Extension: Have participants keep in a notebook and evaluate them after a specified period of time ( two weeks, month, etc.) and see if anything has changed.

7. Select a piece of literature and as you read, analyze it for what might fit in one or more of the three categories. Use ‘Rocks in a Jar Worksheet’.
**Classic Literature Resources - a variety of books, websites with audio and lesson plans, activities, etc.

8. Extension Activity: Hand out strips with the quotes below and have participants apply them to the ‘Big ROCKS’ concept with a pair share or self-reflection strategy.

“Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant.”

Stephen Covey

The most important things in life aren't things. --Anthony J. D'Angelo

The key is taking responsibility and initiative, deciding what your life is about and prioritizing your life around the most important things. --Stephen Covey

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. -- Dale Carnegie

You have to establish in your life some sense of prioritizing things, of giving emphasis to the important things and of laying aside the unimportant things that will lead to nothing.
-- Gordon B. Hinckley

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
Steve Jobs

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Life doesn't require that we be the best, only that we try our best.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.