Fostering a growth mindset in young learners is a vital foundation for their lifelong learning journey. This type of mindset encourages students to embrace challenges, persevere through setbacks, and believe in the power of effort and learning. We can start empowering students to adopt a growth mindset and approach challenges with enthusiasm from early childhood. In this short lesson, students in Grade Primary (5-6 years old) explore this fundamental concept through a fantastic book, "Giraffes Can't Dance," written by Giles Andreae, and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees.
Students will explore different attitudes towards challenges and mistakes.
Students will engage in discussions on the importance of making mistakes while learning.
Students will understand the meaning and the impact of the word "yet" when referring to things we cannot do at present.
Book “Giraffes can’t dance.”
Flashcards with various scenarios related to facing challenges.
Begin the lesson by gathering the students in a circle. Share a couple of personal examples of things you couldn't do at first but learned over time, using the word "yet." For instance, "I couldn't ride a bike when I was younger, but I learned how to ride one eventually."
Ask the students to think about things they haven't been able to do... yet. Encourage them to consider activities, skills, or tasks they might have found challenging or impossible in the past.
Open the floor for students to share their "yet" experiences. Create a list of these shared experiences on the board or chart paper, emphasizing the word "yet" in each statement.
- Story reading: Read aloud the story "Giraffes Can't Dance." Pause at key points in the story to engage the students and encourage their involvement. Discussion points during the reading:
When the animals laugh at Gerard's dancing, ask the students, "How do you think Gerard feels right now?"
When Gerard tries to dance, ask, "How might he feel after trying to learn and dance?"
Ask the students if they've ever felt like Gerard, facing something challenging or unfamiliar.
- After reading the story, engage the students in a reflective conversation. Examples of questions:
"What did Gerard do when he faced a challenge?"
"What do you think helped Gerard to keep trying?"
- Activity in small groups: Work separately with groups of 4 or 5 students. The remaining students can rotate and work in different stations around the classroom. Use flashcards with various scenarios and discuss relevant questions:
Scenario 1: "A child falls while learning to ride a bicycle. What should he do now?"
Scenario 2: "A student is struggling to write his own name; how this student may feel? What would you do?"
Scenario 3: "A student makes a mistake during an activity. What can she do now?"
Scenario 4: "This student tells you she can’t play football. What can you tell her?"
- Have a brief class discussion about strategies for approaching challenges that you explored today. Some questions:
"What are some things we can do when we can't do something?"
"How can we use 'yet' in our thinking?"
"Why is it important to keep practicing and learning, even when things are tough?"
- Prompt students to think about how they can apply what they learned in their daily lives. Pose questions such as:
"Can you think of a recent challenge or mistake where you could have applied the power of "YET"?"
"How can you support a friend who's facing a challenge?"
"What's one thing you've been unable to do... yet, that you're excited to work on?"
- Classroom "Yet" Bulletin Board: Create a bulletin board in the classroom dedicated to celebrating students' "yet" moments. Encourage them to write down something they can't do... yet, and pin it to the board. As they make progress, they can replace their notes with updates showcasing their achievements.
- The Power of Yet worksheet: Students complete a worksheet drawing or writing about something they can't do but want to learn or improve.