CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Climbing the Ladder of Success

Visual Arts, Business Studies
3 lessons
To determine the challenges in achieving success in a career where it is necessary to excel
In this activity, partners create a visual display to show their results after researching Karen Kain's successes and challenges.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring


Ask students what success means to them. Narrow the discussion to a reflection of success in the workplace. Ask students to consider whether there are careers where a person must excel in order to succeed, and if so, what they might be. Ask students which of them might like to become famous within their chosen career, and why. Discuss whether being famous is the same as being successful, and ask if they consider Karen Kain to be famous/successful. Have students list on a T-chart the positive and negative factors of choosing a career where one must excel in order to succeed and discuss their answers.

Outline the Opportunity


In partners, students are to research the clips "Why ballet?," "Kain draws acclaim abroad," "The pains of ballet," "Media crowds outside Kain's wedding," "Not just a ballerina," "Ballet's ups and downs," "Dancers go toe to toe with Mike Harris" and "Swan song" from Karen Kain, Prima Ballerina on the CBC Digital Archives website to note the career highlights and challenges of Karen Kain. When the research is completed, students are to come up with an idea for creating a visual display that outlines the steps Kain took to achieve fame and the positive and/or negative factors necessary to achieve that step. (You may wish to discuss whether or not a ladder is an appropriate visual symbol for this type of discussion, and what the "climbing" metaphor could imply.) Where appropriate, students can cite direct quotations from Kain and/or the media about both the glory and the price of fame.

Revisit and Reflect

Share the visual displays and lead a discussion about the glory and the price of fame.


Students can write a personal response about whether or not they would be willing to make the commitment necessary to pursue a career in which it is necessary to excel in order to succeed.


  • chart paper
  • art supplies

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