It seems to me that the third installment of any series is always a let down (Divergent and Hunger Games, I am looking at you.) Hopefully you will not find that to be the case with the third installment of this series!
The last two “A Picture Book is Worth a Thousand Words” have been about using picture books to supplement language classes as well as math and science curriculum.
But wait…there’s more!
This time we’ll focus on helping your students develop a growth mindset, helping them work through failure, set goals for the future, and be better problem solvers. These books work well with the paired lessons and activities, but are also enjoyable when read on their own.
“We’ll focus on helping your students develop a growth mindset, helping them work through failure, set goals for the future, and be better problem solvers.”
One of my all-time favorites is The Most Magnificent Thing written by Ashely Spires. In this delightful book, a young girl and her best furry pal struggle to create the vision she has in her head IRL (in real life for those of you not up on your kid slang). We watch as the failures begin to mount and the little girl grows angry and begins to slam and bang as she invents which only leads to a smashed finger, not increased productivity. Our little heroine is eventually able to take a walk and see the little successes she has had during the day and to put those together for a magnificent creation.
After reading the book together, take time to discuss with your students the difference between failing and being a failure. This short blog gives an example of a t-chart you can make with your students.
Through a story told by a young child, in What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada, readers learn that hiding from and avoiding problems can be more problematic and stressful than facing them. The child realizes, “My problem held an opportunity. It was an opportunity to learn and grow.”
This book can be used with a whole class, but might be more effective in small groups or in a one on one setting so students will feel more comfortable sharing their struggles.
Kobi Yamada also has several other inspiring growth mindset titles including What Do You Do With an Idea? What Do You Do With a Chance?, and the beautifully illustrated Trying.
The stuck escalator video is a great place to start when talking about problem solving strategies:
Problem solving strategies for all ages are available.
This is the library in Columbus, Indiana that was designed by I. M. Pei.
I am I. M. Pei, written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulis, is the biography of world-famous Chinese American architect I. M. Pei. This entertaining, fact-filled story shares the inspiration, hard work (and failures) that led to the creation of famous buildings like the entrance to the Louvre, the National Gallery of Art, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This book is part of the Ordinary People Change the World series that also features diverse heroes like Marie Curie, Abraham Lincoln, John Lewis, and Dolly Parton.
These are great books to pair with goal-setting activities. An explanation of S.M.A.R.T. goals and free printable worksheets can be found online.
Because by Mo Willems (yes, THAT Mo Willems) is a beautiful story of a young girl (not a pigeon) who is inspired by a chance visit to the symphony. She studies and works hard to become a conductor of the symphony playing a piece she composed. Make sure to play the music composed to go along with the book. This book makes my heart so happy!
Here are some more ideas for teaching perseverance in your classroom.
A couple more favorites to inspire you and your students Books
Salt In His Shoes by: Deloris Jordan and Roslyn Jordan
Giraffes Can’t Dance by: Giles Andreae
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by: JoAnn Deak
Change Sings by: Amanda Gorman
The Bad Seed by: Jory John
The Power of YET by Trevor Muir
Failures are the Pillars of Success featuring Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, and Steve Jobs
Soar Award winning animated short
The Mindset of a Champion by Carson Byblow
The Power of Yet Sesame Street featuring Janelle Monae
I love teaching STEM and all of the great lessons we do with coding, circuits, and constructing. I know that in addition to all the STEM skills they take away, they are also building a growth mindset that will serve them well in the future. Hopefully these books will inspire you and your students to do the same.
Please contact me if you have questions or would like to share your great ideas! firstname.lastname@example.org