K-5 (could be adapted to higher grades)

Bryan City Schools / Ike

Jackie Boyd, School Counselor

Self-Control/appropriate behavior



Students will be able to control themselves appropriately.

Students will control impulsive, inappropriate behavior.

Students will delay gratification for short and/or long term rewards.


School Therapy Dog

Dog Treats

Book on self-control and listening (such as "Henry Wigglebottom Learns to Listen" by Howard Binkow).


Introduce the lesson by telling students they are going to see how Ike has learned commands, such as how to leave a treat alone until the handler says it is okay for him to eat it. Talk about how we sometimes want things we can't have immediately, just like that treat for Ike.

Drop a dog treat on the floor, without saying anything, and watch Ike go after the treat. Ask students, “Do you think Ike can sit still and not go after another treat that is put on the floor?” (Answers will vary.) Tell students you are going to give Ike a command (down/stay), and then put him in that position. Place 3-4 treats around his head and feet just close enough that he could reach them. Instruct Ike to “Leave it.” Continue talking about self-control and walk around the room for a minute or so, observing the dog not going after the treats. Notice the dog looking at the handler. Tell students that that is the way students should be looking at their teacher while she is talking to the class. Give Ike the “Come” command and have him come to the handler without eating the treats on the floor. Give Ike a treat for obeying and using self-control.

Ask students, “How do you use self-control? What are the benefits of being self-controlled, even when you would rather be doing something else?” (Answers might be taking turns playing a game would mean that everyone is able to participate, or raising your hand to answer a question and waiting until the teacher calls on you means that everyone can learn from the answer and the class is not disrupted.) Ask students to share a time when they controlled themselves, how it felt, and why they chose to do it.

Read a book on this topic. Talk about the main character and what happened when he DID or DID NOT use self-control.

Tell students they are going to practice self-control by doing what you tell them to do. Tell students to wiggle their arms and then tell them to stop. Do this sort of movement 2-3 times. Talk about how they are able to stop their body movements when needed, as they just demonstrated in this activity. Finish by discussing how they can use self-control at school (classroom, lunchroom, recess, hallways, etc.). Discuss what rewards they might receive when they use self-control and why it is worth the wait (classroom or school-related rewards).


Observe class participation and students who needed to be redirected for not controlling themselves appropriately. Talk with those students about what they did that was not acceptable and what they should do instead. Continue to meet with students in small groups to practice and reinforce self-control and why it is helpful to practice it at school.

For a Printable PDF of this Lesson Plan, download this file: AP-LessonPlan-Self-Control

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