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The Power of Yet

It was during a math lesson when 4 of my students instantly claimed they were stuck, and yet had only given a single hurried attempt at the activity without. even. reading. the. directions.

I don’t know about you, but it makes me crazy. I wanted problem solving, independent, growth minded students. Looking around, I knew my students weren’t at that place, but I knew they could be.


When my four my math friends came over whining that they didn’t know what to do, I swiftly added the word “yet” to the end. “You don’t know what to do, YET.” They sort of smiled and looked at one another. As they sat down we talked about what they could do to figure it out on their own. I assured them that I would be here to help, but only if they truly needed it. Shortly after, they read the directions, shared ideas, and were able to solve the problem realizing they knew what to do all along.

I wanted to help my students gain a healthy perseverance in the classroom and in life. One simple word helped me transform my room full of one try and I’m done mentalities into mistake making and try again mentalities.

That word is YET.

The power of yet is a wonderful and well known antidote in my room.  It’s been around for a few years but just recently it made its way into my classroom and I hope it finds its way into yours!



Since that day I’ve added the word, “yet” to any statement made by a student declaring that they couldn’t do something. It quickly caught on and now two weeks later I love hearing other students saying it to each other. Their stamina, determination, and growth mindsets have developed tenfold. We still have a lot of work to do but this has been an amazing start.



Interested in helping your students use the power of yet? Here are some great ideas:

*Watch the video, “You can learn anything” with your students: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC82Il2cjqA

*As a class brainstorm and record some negative messages you may think during the day, how can you change them by adding the word “yet” to the end?

*Read aloud books that focus on overcoming challenges: The Energy Bus for Kids, Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still, Emmanuel’s Dream, Giraffes can’t dance,  Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin – You’ll also notice many of your already favorite read aloud already have challenges that the main characters work through and you can use those to model with too!

*Encourage the students to add the word yet to end of their sentences and to remind their friends of the word yet!

*Have a class discussion where you remind students that making mistakes is part of learning! How have you overcome obstacles in life? What’s a moment you’re proud of because you had to work for it?


 

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