Last fall, when I was doing my final project for grad school, I came across the idea of “the power of yet,” which goes nicely with all of the work of growth mindset we’ve been introduced to by Carol Dweck. We began using that word all the time, and I helped my friends learn to add it to the end of many sentences they spoke to me and to each other: “I can’t do this yet...”; “I don’t know yet, but what I think right now is…”; “I’m not sure yet, but I’m going to keep trying!” At first it was just me, but slowly and surely, I started to hear kids saying it to each other when they’d hear their friends discouraged about something that was challenging them.
I knew it was something that I would incorporate again (and continue, really, since most of us remember it from our 1st grade together), but wasn’t quite sure how I’d bring it up again. And then I found this book:
I was first intrigued by the use of the ellipsis, since I knew it was something I thought I kids would remember learning about last year. Ok, and I have to stop and give a shoutout to JK right here for TOTALLY remembering what we talked about. Before we started reading, we were discussing the title and cover and trying to figure out what we could learn about the story–as well as why the author would choose to use that particular punctuation mark like that. Well, JK totally whipped out–all casual-like, “Well, that’s an ellipsis, and an ellipsis means that you’re waiting for something, and the mice are always waiting for Nick. So …and Nick means there’s suspense and you’re trying to figure out what happens next.” I was TOTALLY impressed, and TOTALLY proud. And yes, other kids knew it, too. YAY for first grade punctuation studies!!
Well, while the part about the ellipsis was exciting, it wasn’t all I had up my sleeve with this activity.
My team had copied these blank butterflies for me, with the idea of using tissue paper to decorate them and then make a goal for 2nd grade, and I found them to be a great place to apply this “yet” idea for us this year. Instead of tissue paper, though, I decided to get out the watercolors. (On a side note–can you believe we’ve never painted together before? NEVER. We got all the way through 1st grade paint-free. And now we’re going to change that. Big time. So paint it was for our butterflies!).
Ok, back to the paint for a second: the thing I noticed when I put a paintbrush in some of my friends’ hands is that I saw work I’d NEVER seen before. The creativity, the focus and the engagement was beautiful. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve seen it in other ways, but this was eye-opening for me in many ways.
So after they painted their masterpieces, they were to think of something they don’t know how to do. Yet. And then they wrote that as a sentence: “I don’t know how to __________yet.” This was put on a label, and stuck to the front of their butterflies. These are now flying high on our walls where we are 1) reminded of …yet by the title, 2) encouraged by how if we work hard we’ll be able to do those things, and 3) given something beautiful and colorful to look at. Fly beautiful butterflies, fly!
And then today, I found a video, that I will incorporate to our yet conversation. It’s a song and it’s catchy, so I’m sure we’ll be singing it for many days to come!
Love “yet”!! We have been using the word yet in my room for years and I love how powerful it can become. All of my students know to include it when they come to me asking for help. You are creating students who know it is ok to try and fail on the way to (eventually) succeeding. That is some powerful teaching! Totally sealing the song as well.
For those kiddos that latch on to it, it’s a great relief, I think. Such a small word with such power. I love that it works for me, but I can also use it to motivate you as you struggle through something that’s hard. And sure, steal the song. Excited to see if big kids like it, too! 🙂
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