What if students knew the skills they are supposed to learn in school and became responsible for learning each one of them? In this Lesson Plan you’ll find answers to help students want to learn new skills in school, particularly students who have special needs or challenges who must work in a step-by step way to attain the ability to accomplish skills.
We often assume that a child, especially an elementary student, is unable to conceive of learning as skills in which they must become proficient. We simply begin teaching, following the curriculum; requiring students stay “on task” and accomplish the prescribed work.
What if we shared with our students the “big picture”: Which skills they are expected to develop and when they must be able to accomplish the skills? For students who have a learning disability, or other mild or moderate health impairment, we still expect them to acquire these new skills, though the way we teach may be considerate of their challenges. When the students know what is expected and know they will be acknowledged for achievement, they can help themselves to learn and practice on their own.
What if we shared with our students what is expected by defining specific skills that must be learned in a prescribed period of time? How would students respond if, once they are learned, acknowledging that the skill has been attained?
This simple lesson can help students become self-learners. By teaching them how to learn, they can be successful. Skills can be reinforced in each subsequent lessons. Student can learn how valuable it is to gain a new skill and that this is his or her “work” each day in school. And most importantly, he or she can be acknowledged with a certificate of completion for attainment of skills.
Here is an introductory lessons to help a student gain confidence in his or her ability to learn. These are written for Kindergarten but can be tailored easily for higher grades.
 Study Skills Lesson 1: What is Skill Achievement?
Today, we are going to discuss skills. We will learn what is a skill.
Model: Skills are those things we know how to do and that we can do easily. For example, when I want a glass of water, I use my brain. I know to get a glass, make sure it is empty and clean, and then fill it. I have practiced doing this many times so I know I will not spill it. Every time I get a drink from a glass I do the same thing. (Do it, get the glass, pour the water, etc,)
At school I am learning many new skills. For example, I am learning to count objects. I know that each object goes with one of the numbers. I do that with my brain. With my body I can point to the object and say the number.   (Teacher should briefly do each of these skills.) These are all skills that I have learned. A skill is something I have learned and I can do it too.
A skill is two things there are just two things. First, (hold up one hand and point to the head), we know how to do it, our brain has learned how to do it and second (teacher holds up her hands), we have practiced it with our body so we know so we can do it well.
A skill is something we learn how to do with our brains (point to head) and we can do it with our hands (hold up hands.)
Prompt: Let’s say and do it together. (Do this with all of the students speaking the words and using their hands). A skill is something we have learned how to do with our brain (point to head) and practice with our body (hold up hands).
Think of something you know how to do and you can do it well. You know you can do it well because you have done it many times. (Name various things the students are likely to be able to do)  Can you wash your hands? (Students respond.) Can you eat and drink? Can you carry your backpack/sing a song/dance/play with toys/turn on a computer? These are all things you have learned and practiced many times. They are skills.
Please turn to your neighbor and tell them a skill that you have.
Check: Show and tell me what is a skill? (Students will point to head and the hold up hands and say “you learn with your brain you practice with your body.”)
Think of an example of a skill, raise your hand when you thought of a skill you can do.
Call on various students to verify that the majority of the students do understand skills they have learned whether at home or at school.
Review: When we are in school, what are we learning?
That’s right we are learning skills.
What is a skill? Say it all together. (Review the definition of a skill along with the hand movements as needed to make sure they’ve got it memorized.)
Preview: Each time you learn a new skill including how to do it and practicing too, you’ll receive a certificate of accomplishment. (Show the Certificate they will receive) Each week we’ll have a party for the whole class to celebrate any students who have attained new skills.   
Independent work: Today and over the coming days as we are working in school I am going to ask you about different skills you have learned. You can show me what you have learned with your brain and what you can do with your body to accomplish that skill. I look forward to that and to see you learn many new skills and achieve your goals!