Monday, April 16, 2018

The Power of "I CAN"

Over 30 years ago I was a student teacher in 1st grade.  It was frightening to me as I only pictured myself working with 4th grade students not being with 'little kids." I remember my cooperating teacher had me sit with a sign that said, "I CAN DO IT!"  As I recall, those first grade kids COULD do it and I did too!  Afterward I left that class and went on to become a grade 4 teacher.  I became good at figuring out what my fourth graders were and weren't capable of doing.  I often wonder if I held my students back believing they couldn't do something and not giving them the opportunity to try!

Lately, as a Digital Learning Coach I have had the opportunity to spend time with kindergartners and 1st graders. I forgot what it was like to be with 5 & 6 year olds. So, I am always pleasantly surprised and impressed by what they ARE able to 'do' when it comes learning.  Admittedly, I'm not familiar with the 'littles' and their abilities as I have spent the last 27 years with 4th graders.  So, when people share with me that the little ones can't do this or that I have to respect their expertise.
Gr 1 Student sharing his GDrawing

"I thought this lesson was going to be too hard and wasn't sure the kids were going to produce what you wanted."

"First graders can't do that, it's too hard for them to concentrate."

"We usually wait until the end of the year to try something like this." 

What I am familiar with though is the power to prove people wrong! (I would challenge my 4th graders all the time only to receive some excellent results.) So I decided to do the same with the "littles" and their teachers.

Gr 1 Teacher says "we CAN use GSheets!
After purchasing Christine Pinto's "Google Apps for Littles" I was excited to try some ideas with the younger grades. So, I approached a couple of teachers who have the "I CAN" attitude and asked them if they'd help me.  Getting the green light, I worked with some first grade classes.  I started by telling the students: "People don't think you can use Google Drawing to make pictures and add write sentences." "I'm hearing that 1st graders can't use Google Sheets!" The gauntlet had been thrown and the challenge accepted! The teachers and students assured me they were up for the challenge.

Great success!  A sense of pride was seen in the smiles and reactions of students as they shared their projects with classmates.  Teachers proudly displayed student work in the hallway.  Students came up to me and said "We did our own Number of the Day in Google Sheets!"  Great to see how teachers and students alike were able to 'show off' the CAN DO attitude!

Students and teachers who have the "I CAN" attitude and mindset can accomplish tasks never before thought possible.  We can learn from those 'littles' who consistently take on a challenge to show us "THEY CAN DO IT!"

4 Ways to Encourage Growth Mindset in the Classroom - by EdSurge
Power of Yet - Sesame Street Video
Soundtrack for a Growth Mindset - Two Little Birds

What are some ways we can inspire the words, I CAN?


  1. Thank you for this post! My school district has just started to use Google Classroom this year. I am teaching Third Grade this year, but next year I am going to Second Grade. I was thinking that I won't be able to use technology in Second Grade, but now I see that I need to rethink that! I am very excited to try technology with my Second Graders as see what they can do.

    1. Hi Marilyn,
      Second graders LOVE using technology too. Some of the second graders I work with have created ELA vocabulary Google Slideshows; Science posters with Google Drawings and have used Google Classroom as a way to receive directions. You definitely can use these tools with your second graders!! Good luck next year & thank you so much for commenting.

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