Explore the books creatively with children
I Can’t Do This
The message that you want to get across to children in using ‘I Can’t Do This’ is that we all feel like giving up sometimes. However, we want children to process this and consider whether we should give up. If not, why not? With guidance, they should reach the conclusion that, although we may experience negative feelings when we feel like we can't do something, this is normal. The feelings should not put us off as it is when we feel like this that we are stretching ourselves and growing which is a positive thing.
The hope is that they will think about this when they hit a 'stuck' moment and make the decision to continue as they realise how they must tackle the feeling of 'I Can't Do This' and turn it into 'I Can't Do This Yet'. With strategic effort and perseverance who is to say what is possible but if you give up, you’ll never know.
A Muddle of Mistakes
Moreover, it does not matter if we make mistakes. Mistakes are to be applauded as they help us to learn and grow. As a society we have come to see 'failure', 'criticism' and 'mistakes' as negative entities. The irony is that these things help us to move forward as we can learn from them! ‘A Muddle of Mistakes’ is about the importance and value of making mistakes to support learning and growth.
It is these ideas that you want to start exploring with the children. However, both stories can also be used on a creative level and it is my hope that children will explore the more abstract/magical angle of the texts as well. The notion of thought and thinking (metacognition) could also be explored through using the stories. I have put together some ideas of how this might be done.
Although I am a teacher and have considered how these ideas could be used in the classroom (hence the National Curriculum subject headings), these ideas could be used with children anywhere, for example in family/ child group/home schooling settings etc. as they are life skills that are valuable everywhere. In fact, they should be explored outside the classroom!
By exploring the ideas in 'I Can't Do This' and ‘A Muddle of Mistakes’, children are encouraged to process the ideas within the stories at a deep level. Encouraging them to do this creatively is important as this is where the heart of the stories lie – in encouraging curiosity and creativity of thought; a skill that is increasingly being lost and needs harnessing. Much enjoyment of learning comes from the making of connections that are unique and creative.
Delve into the ‘Activity’ links for each book to find inspiration on how to use Fortitude to explore the wonder of learning and creativity whilst considering how mistakes and the idea of ‘Giving-Up’ effect and interrupt every individual on their learning journeys. Learning concepts can be a lonely experience for many people but especially children as they grapple with making sense of their unknowns.
In discussing these ideas explicitly with children (which will be supported by actively engaging with the ideas), you help them to embrace the struggle of learning as they come to realise they are not alone. We all experience feelings of struggle during learning but the important thing is to be aware of how you react to that struggle. Do you turn and run or find the courage to persevere?