Tag Archives: self esteem

Supporting an ‘I can’ attitude with The Clever Children – #readilearn

Fostering self-esteem, a willingness to have a go and an ‘I can’ attitude was always important to me as both a teacher and a parent. These are important aspects of any supportive environment, whether in the home, in the classroom or in the workplace. I have written many posts and made many resources to help you develop a supportive classroom environment. In this post, I feature just one — a story you can personalise for your own class.

The Clever Children is a story about a kingdom in which a mean witch has put a spell on all the people, causing them to be confused and to forget everything they once knew. The king, who has heard about a class of very clever children (your class) asks for their help in teaching his subjects what they need to know. Every child suggests something they are good at and writes and draws a picture of them doing it on a page for inclusion in the book. When the children have taught their skill, the king throws a great party in the castle to celebrate and, of course, the children are invited.

The story not only helps develop an ‘I can do it’ growth mindset, but it helps develop friendship skills too. It was one of the first uploaded to the collection and includes a diversity of children and abilities gorgeously illustrated by Kari Rocha Jones.

The story is available in two formats.

It is an estory, ready to be displayed and read on the interactive whiteboard.

It is also a booklet that can be downloaded and printed, ready to be completed with pages written by your own children.

While both these formats are available to purchase independently, if you purchase the estory, the printable version is included.

Also included with purchase of the estory:

Continue reading: Supporting an ‘I can’ attitude with The Clever Children – readilearn

Early childhood resources for celebrating friendship – Readilearn

Republished from readilearn

In this post I suggest ways of helping children develop friendship skills, and describe some readilearn resources for celebrating friendship.

Developing a welcoming, happy, supportive classroom environment, a place where children want to be, is essential for learners of all ages, but especially so in early childhood. These classrooms are the first that children experience and influence lifelong attitudes to school and learning. It is important to establish strong foundations with positive attitudes, respect, and friendship.

Making friends doesn’t come easily to everyone. Simply being put with a whole bunch of other children of similar ages doesn’t ensure friendships will be established, or that children will be accepting of, and respectful to, others.

Strategies for helping children develop effective social skills need to be interwoven throughout the curriculum. Respect, kindness, and empathy need to be modelled and taught. It is especially important for children who have had limited experience mixing with others, or for those who respond to others in inappropriate or unkind ways.

Some useful strategies include:

  • Develop a vocabulary of words used to describe feelings. Words

Source: Early childhood resources for celebrating friendship – Readilearn

What do you have in mind?

This week Two Writing Teachers posted a wonderful article by Stacey Shubitz (one of the Two Writing Teachers) about A Picture Book that Pushes the Growth Mindset.

This post coincided beautifully with the flash fiction prompt posted by Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Communications. Charli’s challenge is to:

 In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about getting stronger.

This is a perfect prompt for a teacher as a major focus of our work is in developing children’s strengths:

Strengths as in abilities; strength as in self-esteem and self-confidence; strength as in willingness to face setbacks and try, try again; strength as in keeping on going even when the going gets tough.

The picture book discussed in the article by Stacey Shubitz is The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. Stacey suggests that the book is a great opener for discussions with children about the importance of a growth mindset.

According to Stacey, an understanding of ‘the power of having a growth mindset’ has been enabled by the work of Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist. It is grounded in a belief that

Someone can accomplish a lot more through hard work and dedication, rather than by relying on their smarts alone.

I agree with Stacey that

‘Educators know the benefits of having a growth mindset, rather than having a fixed one. We learn from trial and error. There is value in failure.’

I will not quote Stacey’s article in its entirety, but suggest you pop over and read it for yourself. (If you do, and leave a comment prior to June 27th, you may win yourself a copy of The Most Magnificent Thing, if you live in the USA or Canada.)

Stacey says that “The girl in the story tries over ten times to build something and get it right. Through hard work and some help from her trust sidekick, her pug, she eventually succeeds.” As well as a starting point for discussing the growth mindset, Stacey suggests eight features of the book which are useful for teaching writing. The article also includes a brief, but informative, interview with the author/illustrator Ashley Spires.

In response to Stacey’s question about using The Most Magnificent Thing for discussing a growth mindset, Ashley responds:

‘The character is a perfectly capable girl with a great idea and the skill to make it, but she has to try, try and try again in order to succeed. Most kids (I was one of them) think that if it’s not perfect the first time, then they should move on to something that comes to them more easily. Working hard to succeed is what true success is.”

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/89499612″>The Most Magnificent Thing Book Trailer</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/kidscanpress”>Kids Can Press</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

My flash fiction, told through the jottings of a classroom teacher over time, shows a growth mindset emerging from one that was previously crushed.


Day one

Timid. Needed help getting things out of bag to put in drawer. Sat towards back of group. Drew knees up under chin. Hunched over. Sucked thumb. Twisted long tangled hair under nose. Rocked.

Day twenty-six

Responded in roll call! Sat with ‘friend’. Legs crossed. Back straight. Smiled – briefly. Someone looked! Screamed, “Stop looking at me!” Dissolved in tears. Again. Retreated under desk. Again.

Day fifty-two

Initiated conversation!! Hair combed!! Nose not running!! Brought toy for show and tell. Responded with one- or two-word answers. Small, dirty, pink unicorn. B laughed. Erupted, but went to desk, not under!


I welcome your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of the article or my flash fiction piece.