One of the biggest hurdles when teaching kids to learn is to keep their curiosity peaked and allow the wonder to stay alive. Technology allows them to find any answer they need so the magic lies in making them want to discover more and take risks. The Power of Yet should be alive in every classroom and allow children to understand that seeking “the almost” can be more powerful than the victory! To hear children correct themselves when they find they can not do something from I CAN’T DO IT to I CAN’T DO IT…YET is magic! To face failure and recover with curiosity will make them vibrant learners who seek the whys, the ifs and beautiful oops of life with joy.
One of my favorite 3-minute lessons to bring the Power of Yet to life is my Power2 (squared) lesson using Tangrams. This seven piece puzzle unlocks their minds to discover the true twists and turns of learning and how determination and teamwork changes outcomes. Seven little shapes that will bring such excitement and laughter while enhancing not only a child’s mindset but spatial reasoning skills and fine motor skills as well.
Each child is asked to make a square using all seven tangram pieces in three minutes. They know they will continue to have more chances the following day but to persevere through and try all possibilities. You will see the students move them, manipulate them, make smaller squares with 3 or 2 but no one I have worked with has ever been successful on the first day. When the timer goes, we discuss how it felt, what was difficult and how they feel knowing they were not successful. The next class we revisit it again. Three minutes later…no success but they know they are closer and more determined and you hear “YET” being echoed around the room. Day 3 someone more than likely will “get it”. I tell them to take it apart and do it again. You can seeing they are burning to say…”but I won’t be able to do it again! I can’t do it!” BUT they try again! It is a 50/50 success! They next day that person and few more get it and we offer a “helpful hint” to those struggling. Kindness and collaboration makes the world a better place and helps everyone grow. By Day 5 everyone can do the square and we practice it more as repetitions builds mastery. Success for all is our goal and a strong growth mindset as we dive in deeper to learning with strong platform to spring from.
This lesson can be crossed into literacy and math extensions as well. There is a magnificent story titled “Grandfather Tang’s Story” that tells a story of two mischievous fox fairies who learn rivalry between friends can be tragic but in the end kindness and love win. Use this book as you explore the “Power of Yet” to allow children to become more familiar with the puzzle pieces and build as you read. Tracing the various animals on paper as well helps them build strong fine motor dexterity. After, students can create and write their very own Tangram story. For another classroom, “free time” activity or STEAM bin, you can purchase the game “Tangram Race” on Amazon to help children build their visual dexterity.
I am giving one lucky person who likes, follows and comments on my page a free Tangram Race game! You haven’t won YET but you might be a lucky winner on February 14th…feel the love!
Tangram Race – below are links to where you can purchase Tangram Race and many other fun Tangram activities. No age limit…just pure fun for all! Just click on the image and you will see ordering details.