Lesson plan

Changing 'I Can't' to 'I Can't Yet'

In this lesson, students will explore phrases related to growth mindset through the eyes of basketball player Michael Jordan. They will hear a story about Jordan overcoming his self-doubts and reflect on ways they can approach challenges.
Download lesson plan

Students will be able to use growth mindset techniques and identify phrases they may use when they doubt themselves and their abilities.

(10 minutes)
Michael Jordan: Overcoming Obstacles
  • Join students together in a circle, seated on the rug or in chairs.
  • Ask them to raise their hands if they...
    1. Play sports.
    2. Play instruments.
    3. Have learned how to read words.
    4. Can ride a bike.
  • Ask the class, "Has anyone said 'I can't do this' to themselves when learning or practising these skills?"
  • Explain that sometimes we get down on ourselves and think that we can't do things, but with patience and hard work, great things can happen.
  • Ask students to share a time they worked hard, were patient, and stuck with their practising or work (even if they may have thought they couldn't do it), and because of this were able to succeed.
(15 minutes)
  • Show the class the book Salt in His Shoes, and tell them to notice what is on the front cover.
  • Ask them to predict what the book will be about.
  • Read through the book, and pause periodically to ask comprehension questions, such as: What is happening? Where? To whom? How?
  • After finishing the book, ask, "What happened in the story? How did Michael overcome his fears and doubts?"
(25 minutes)
  • Explain to students that they will work in four different groups. Each group will have a piece of poster paper and is responsible for answering the question on the top of the paper.
  • Review the questions on the first page of the Michael Jordan: Overcoming Obstacles worksheet.
  • Write the words "patience," pride," "disappointment," and "determination" on the board for students to refer back to.
  • Divide the class into four groups.
  • Tell them to choose one person as their scribe.
  • Ask them to discuss their question and write their answers on their paper. They may also draw pictures.
  • Explain that after they make their posters, they will share what they wrote with the class.
  • Give them 8–10 minutes to answer their questions.
  • After the groups have completed their posters, tell them that they will now share their responses with the class.
  • Have each group choose a spokesperson.
  • Go around the room, and have each group share their questions, answers, and drawings.
  • Ask the class how Michael Jordan overcame his fears.
  • Explain that he overcame his fears with something called a "growth mindset." If we want to have a growth mindset, instead of saying "I can't," we can begin to say "I can't Yet."
  • Ask the class to repeat after you: "I can't Yet."
  • Tell them that they will now return to their seats to reflect on growth mindset and Salt in His Shoes.
  • Show the class the Michael Jordan: Overcoming Obstacles worksheet, and read through its instructions.
(20 minutes)
  • Dismiss students back to their seats, and distribute the Michael Jordan: Overcoming Obstacles worksheet.
  • Have them independently complete the activity.

Enrichment:During the group activity, give advanced students more challenging questions from the worksheet.

Support:Work one-on-one with some students on the Michael Jordan: Overcoming Obstacles worksheet.

(5 minutes)
  • Observe students during the independent working time to assess their understanding. Connect with each of them individually and have them share what they have learned about having a growth mindset.
(10 minutes)
  • Bring the class back together in a circle.
  • Review the four words on the board again.
  • Ask them the following questions, one at a time: "How can we learn from our disappointment? How can we build patience? How did Michael do this in the story?"
  • Ask, "What phrase can we say when we get stuck on a problem?" Remind them that instead of saying "I can't," they can say "I can't do this Yet."
  • Write "I can't do this Yet." on the board.
  • Explain to students that this phrase will stay on the board as a reminder of their potential and being able to work hard and stay patient amidst challenges.
  • Optional: Play the "Power of Yet" video.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


How likely are you to recommend Education.com to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely

What could we do to improve Education.com?

Please note: Use the Contact Us link at the bottom of our website for account-specific questions or issues.

What would make you love Education.com?

What is your favorite part about Education.com?