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Lesson FIVE - The Power of YET


Upper Primary

Growth Mindset







Students will:

·         Explain the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset

·         Explore the power of yet by changing I Can’t thoughts to I Can’t Yet

·         Learn how to overcome obstacles and frustrations

·         Learn about I Can’t Yet Goal setting


KEY VOCABULARY: growth mindset, fixed mindset, I Can’t Yet, goal setting, negative, positive, thoughts, behaviour, brain, elastic




Instructions for 'I Can't YET Structure'

Background Information


Changing our I Can’t thoughts to I Can’t Yet encourages a positive attitude and a growth mindset.  Growth Mindset is a concept developed by Carol Dweck, a professor of Psychology at Standford University.  A 'growth mindset' is the belief that a person’s abilities and intelligence can be developed through practice, hard work, dedication and motivation.  A 'fixed mindset' is the belief that intelligence taken alone will lead to success and that they are fixed and cannot be developed or improved upon.  Changing the way students perceive their own abilities and potential can drastically improve their performance.  Too often students live in the now rather than the yet and as a result, they focus on their limitations rather than their potential.  Today’s lesson begins with a challenge.  Students are given a challenge before reflecting on their words (self-talk) and mindset during the challenge.  Students learn how to overcome obstacles and frustrations by setting goals.


Lesson Plan

Introduce Lesson and Review Previous Lesson


Review the previous sessions by asking students to remember what was covered in the last session. Shape students’ responses to reflect the learning intent from the previous lesson. Revise Group guidelines.


Welcome back! Last week we talked about I Can thoughts and I Can’t Thoughts. Remember, our thoughts are different from our feelings. Our thoughts are the words we say to ourselves and no one else can hear. Our self-talk influences how we feel. Today we are going to learn how important the words we say to ourselves are when it comes to learning.  First let’s start with our gratitude attitude.


A Gratitude Attitude (5 minutes)

Sit in a circle. Ask each student to share something that they are grateful for or something positive that has happened to them this week. This simple activity is training students to be positive and to have a gratitude attitude.

A gratitude attitude focuses on the NOW!  Try to pay attention and be thankful for what you already have and not worry about what you don’t have.  People with a gratitude attitude are positive, resilient and happy.


​Activity One: Growth and Fixed Mindsets (10 minutes)


Places question cards around the room. Give each student an answer card. Students find the question cards around the room. Students read the question card and decide if it is a fixed mindset or a growth mindset statement and colour the answer on the card.

Our Mindset is made up of what we think we can do and what we think we can't do. By changing your self-talk you can change your mindset and achieve anything you set your mind to.

There are two main types of mindsets we can navigate life with.  There is a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.


A growth mindset is when you believe, that through practice, persistence and effort, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. A fixed mindset is when you believe that how smart you are is fixed and cannot change.

Changing our beliefs can have a powerful impact on our learning and on our life.

We are now going to play a game. I have placed question cards around the room for you to find. On each card is a growth mindset or fixed mindset statement.  You will need to read the statement and on your answer card, circle your answer. Make sure you use the corresponding number.

Discuss answers.

Activity Two: I Can’t Yet Structure (10 minutes)

The aim of this activity is to provide students with an opportunity to attempt a difficult task and reflect on their automatic thinking patterns.  This activity can be confronting to some students, and some students may become visibly upset and frustrated as they struggle.  If this happens, comfort the student and make most of the opportunity to reflect on how their thoughts are influencing how they are feeling and also their behaviour.  

Making the Structure

  • Download the instructions for the 'I Can't YET Structure' here

  • Before students enter the room make the ‘I Can’t Yet’ structure and place it in the middle of the circle where each student is able to easily view it from all angles. 

  • Colour one side of the business card to make it easier for the students to see the details of the structure. Do the same for the student's cards. 

I have a challenge for you today.  The challenge involves attempting to make the 'I Can't Yet' Structure.  Here is what the 'I Can't Yet' structure looks like.  You are not allowed to touch it.  You can only look at it from all angles. I will give you two pieces of card so that you can have two attempts. Are you ready to take up my challenge?

  • Ensure each student has two business cards and a pair of scissors 

  • The students cannot touch the structure, but encourage them to move around it and view it from all angles.

  • Let students approach the task as they would, don't discourage negative thinking or encourage positive thinking

  • Try not to offer any advice or encouragement.

  • While the students are working on their structure, write down what you hear them say on the white board (with no names). Don't make it obvious to them what you doing.

  • Students are allowed two attempts at the structure.

  • After 10 minutes, call the students back to the group. 

Discussion and questions. 


1. Did anyone figure it out?

2. How many attempts did it take?

3. What did you think when you saw the structure?

3. How did you feel when you first saw the structure?

4. How do you feel now?

​​When we are learning something new and we are finding it difficult, our self-talk is really powerful and important.


Refer back to the language that you wrote on the board and say.


While you were busy attempting to make the structure, I was writing down what you were saying. 


Discuss what the students were saying while making the structures and how it made them feel and also their behaviour. 


Pose questions:

1. Was it a negative 'I Can't' thought or a positive 'I Can' thought?

2. How did you feel?

3. What did you do? Did your thoughts stop you from trying or giving it a go?

When we change our words, we change our mindsets.  Someone with a growth mindset says, ‘I haven’t figured it out yet, but I will’. Our mindset is made up of our beliefs about how smart we are. Our beliefs about our intelligence influence what we can achieve.

Our mindset is made up of what we think we can do and what we think we can't do. A growth mindset is when you believe, that through practice, persistence and effort, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.  A fixed mindset is when you believe that how smart you are is fixed and cannot change.  I am going to show you how to make the 'I Can't Yet' structure, but first, we are going to learn more about your brain.

Activity Three: Your Fantastic Elastic Brain (10 minutes)


Read ‘Your Fantastic Elastic Brain.

Did you know our brain is like a muscle and it grows and changes the more you use it?  When you run or jump, your leg muscles get stronger.  When you learn new things your brain get stronger too.  To become smarter, you need to exercise your brain by trying hard things.  If you are always doing easy brain work, you aren’t exercising your brain. 

Think about something that you can already do.  Something that was hard at first, but with practice and persistence you were able to do it.  Invite students to share.

Now think of something that you can't do yet. Invite students to share.

What do you need to do to learn the new skill?


By changing your words from 'I can't' to 'I can't yet' you change your negative thought to a positive thought.  YET is a really important word.  We can set goals to learn how to do something we can’t do yet, and with a growth mindset, anything is possible. 

Let’s watch a short video about the Power of Yet.

Watch the following clip: Growth Mindset for Student Class Dojo (click here)

Growth mindset.png

Activity Four: Goal Setting (5 minutes)

​When you want to learn something new, it sometimes helps to break up a goal into small achievable steps.  'The I Can’t Yet structure' that we all tried to make at the beginning of the lesson is a tricky structure to make.  But if we break it down into small achievable steps, we will be able to learn how to make it. It may have seemed impossible to begin with, but with the right mindset, anything is possible.

​Draw steps on the board.  Write under each step a number (step 1, step 2, step 3 and step 4).  Demonstrate each step as the students learn how to make the I Can’t Yet Structure.

​4 Steps to follow to make the I Can’t Yet Structure.

​1. Fold the paper in half along the long side
2. Fold it back out flat again.
3. Make the cut below to the middle (two on one side, one on the other)
4. The tricky part.  You have to twist the paper. The business card will help you see the different colours as a result of the twist.


Write acronym SMART on the board.

I want to introduce you to SMART goal setting. Has anyone heard of SMART goal setting? A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.

Can someone give me an example of a goal they would like to achieve?

Write the goal on the board. Next to each letter, as a group, answer the following questions.

  • What exactly do you want to happen or what exactly do you want to learn?

  • How will you know you have reached your goal?

  • How can it be done with the resources you have?

  • This means, do you have everything you need to be able to learn it.

  • Why do you want to reach this goal?

  • When will you reach your goal by?


Activity Five: Mistakes are Proof that you are learning (5 minutes)

Did you know that lots of great inventions were made by mistake? Did you know potato chips, super glue, play-doh and the ice-cream cone were all invented by mistake?

Is it okay to make a mistake?

Making a mistake can be unpleasant. It can leave you feeling frustrated and disappointed. It can mean you have to start over. But mistakes are an important part of learning, especially when you are trying something new.

Group discussion:

  • Can you think of a time you recently made a mistake?

  • What did you learn from your mistake?

There are three common ways we allow mistakes to affect our learning process:

1. We get discouraged. A mistake triggers 'I can't' thoughts, and we get frustrated or give up.


2. We don't reflect on our mistakes. We ignore the mistake or don’t spend time reflecting on why it happened. This is a missed opportunity to understand a mistake and avoid making it again!


3. We avoid taking risks or doing tasks we've made mistakes in before. We avoid situations because we don’t want to make mistakes again, and then we miss out on learning opportunities.

Group discussion: Watch - The magic of mistakes

Activity Six: Understanding Resilience: Learning how to overcome obstacles with  positive self-talk (10 minutes)


Pose the question: Can anyone tell me what the word resilience means?


Resilience is the ability to recover quickly or cope with difficult, challenging, hurtful or disappointing circumstances. Resilience is NOT a skill you are born with, it is a skill that needs to be developed through practice. Resilient people never give up, even when times are tough. Resilient people have positive ‘I Can’ thoughts.

Let’s look at the story of twelve brave boys and a soccer coach who faced a big challenge.

On the 23rd of June, 2018, twelve members of the Wild Boards soccer team (the youngest just 11) and their coach went exploring in a cave complex in northern Thailand. They just took torches with them as they expected to only be gone an hour or so. Soon after entering the cave, heavy rainfall caused flooding, which trapped them in a muddy, dark and terrifying part of the cave system.


They would not emerge until two weeks later. It took an international term of selfless experts to free the boys and their coach. It was since been described as a superhuman rescue effort, due to the high-stress circumstances and potential for disaster. Some of the boys were not strong swimmers but they had to swim out of parts of the cave that were flooded with a diver.


Watch a short video about the Thailand Cave Rescue.

Pose the question: How did the boys show resilience? Write answers on the board.

  • They huddled together to keep warm

  • They took turns using their torches in order to save batteries

  • They took turns to lick water from the cave walls

  • They used meditation to stay calm

  • They never gave up hope and were determined to survive

  • They did not panic

  • They talked of the future and even used humour to take their mind off the challenges they faced

  • They used positive self-talk.



Pose the question: How can you be more resilient? Write answers on board.

  • Change negative thoughts to positive thoughts

  • Look for ways around challenges and don’t give up.

  • Accept that you cannot stop things from going wrong in life

  • Focus on what is in your control

  • Learn from past mistakes

  • Practise problem-solving skills

  • Keep things in perspective

  • Ask for help and support

Concluding Discussion (5 minutes)


Today we learned that when we change our words in our heads it influences how we feel and what we do.  This week I want you to try to catch any ‘I Can’t’ thoughts that you have and quickly change it to ‘I Can’t Yet’ and then make a plan to figure it out.  If we change our words in our heads from ‘I Can’t’ to ‘I Can’ then anything is possible. 

Close the session: Thank the group for their participation throughout the session.  Encourage them to practice the new skills they learned during the week.  Share with the group an exciting activity that they will do during the next GRIT lesson.

Extra activities:

Download the episode from Bluey called 'Bike'.  The episode is an excellent example of a growth mindset and the children love it!

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