Never Give Up
Jace is down on himself for getting a 5/10 on a spelling test. But, his Super D! friends remind him to never give up. Jordan tells a story about the best advice a teacher ever gave her: “the only things you can fail at are the things you give up on.” Jace feels better, and realizes that with a little perseverance he’ll get better at spelling!
Students will frame a picture of themselves and decorate the frame in a way that depicts areas of strength and areas for growth.
- Photograph of each student (or students can make their own self-portraits)
- Cardboard, construction paper, or wide popsicle sticks to make simple frames
- String, yarn, ribbon, or pipe cleaners
- Blank index cards or small squares of paper or cardstock
“In this episode of the Super d! Show, Jace is upset because he got 5 out of 10 words correct on his spelling test. He says, “I’m never going to be good at spelling…I’m just going to give up!” Ellie and Jordan remind Jace that if he “keeps working at it, he’s only going to get better at it.”
Today, we are going to take a photograph or self-portrait of ourselves and frame it! On the frame we’ll put images, writing, and symbols of things we are good at and love to do! Then we’ll think about the areas or skills that are hard for us, the activities that sometimes we want to give up on! We’ll attach words or drawings of these to the bottom of the frame, reminding us that if we keep working at the things that are hard, over time we’ll get better at them!
- What are some areas in school or in life where you excel? What do you love to do?
- In “Never Give Up,” Jace tells the Super D! kids that spelling is so hard for him that he just wants to give up. What are some areas in school or in life that are hard for you?
- Teacher says, “It’s normal for all of us to have some things that we love to do, and some things that are so hard we want to give up on them.”
- Have students take a photograph of themselves and make a frame for it (see suggested materials above)
- Direct students to decorate the frame with images, writing, and symbols that represent them, their strengths, or the things they love to do.
- Take string, yarn, or ribbon and attach drawings or words of areas that are challenging or hard.
- Students can share their decorated frames with each other. Some options for sharing include:
- Museum Walk – The finished pieces are placed around the classroom, and students pretend they are in a museum as they view the work.
- Partner Share – Students share their picture frames with a partner. Then each student shares a strength and area of growth they learned about from their partner’s piece.
- Whole Class Lightning Share – Each student quickly shows the class his/her frame and states one thing he/she is good at and an area for growth.
- Possible follow-up discussion questions:
- When thinking about yourself, why is it important to identify both the things that you are good at AND the things that are hard for you?
- At intervals throughout the school year (or even the next school year) it might be helpful for students to look at their framed photo and respond to the following questions:
- In what ways have I improved in the areas that were/are hard for me?
- What strategies have helped me to persevere with the skills/activities that are/were hard for me?
Students will build empathy towards themselves and others by discussing their connections to the themes of “Never Give Up.”
In ‘Never Give Up,’ Jace shares that he wants to give up on spelling and Jordan helps by reminding him of a time that she worked really hard and got her best score yet, even though that score may have been lower than the scores of other students! She says ‘It might take a few months or even a few years, but if you keep working at it, you’re only going to get better.’
Many of us have felt like we wanted to give up, have compared our scores to the numbers on other students’ papers, or, like Jordan have been proud that we kept working at something and are getting better at it bit by bit. All of these emotions are normal. Today we are going to share some examples where we or our friends felt like Jace and Jordan did.
The teacher can invite students to respond (with a partner or in a whole class meeting) to the following prompts.
- Tell about a time when you felt that something was so hard that you just wanted to give up.
- Have you ever compared your test or quiz scores to the scores of your friends or classmates? How does that make you feel?
- At the end of the episode, Kieran gives Jace special glasses that will help him keep his eyes off of other kids’ scores. Even if you are not actually wearing special glasses, how might this idea be helpful to you as a learner?
- Tell about a time when you were proud that you improved at a skill that was hard for you.
What is one idea you will take away from our discussion?
Students will consider the meaning of the quote “the only things you can fail at are the things you give up on” by discussing it with their peers and by making a motivational card or poster.
In “Never Give Up,” Jace is upset with himself for getting a 5/10 on his spelling test. He wants to give up but his friends remind him that with practice he’ll get better at spelling. Jordan reminds him of the advice her favorite teacher gave her, “The only things you can fail at are the things you give up on.” In fact, at the end of the film, the treasure chest burps up a decorative pillow to remind Jace to persevere when things get challenging.
Today we are going to think a bit more about this quote and what it means for our learning. We’ll also make motivational cards or posters to put on our refrigerators or bulletin boards at home.
- The teacher should write the quote “The only things you can fail at are the things you give up on” up on the board. Alternately, he/she could give each student a index card or a half sheet of paper with the quote typed up on it.
- Discuss the quote using a Think-Pair-Share format:
- What does the quote mean? Why is it important?
- Define the term perseverance. What does it mean to persevere?
- Tell students that they will be making a motivational card or poster to remind themselves that perseverance can help them as learners.
- Students can either rewrite the quote or can paste a typed version of the quote on a notecard or poster.
- Encourage students to decorate their cards and posters and to hang up their final product in their lockers, or at home to remind themselves to never give up!
Possible reflection question: Where will you post your card or poster so that you’ll be inspired to persevere when things get challenging?
- Students will participate in a read aloud of The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires.
- Students will discuss times that they felt frustrated or that they wanted to quit. Additionally, they will come up with a list of strategies to deal with those feelings.
In “Never Give Up,” Jace felt that he was failing at spelling despite trying so hard. He learns from the other students that it’s important to take a break, gain some perspective, and persevere in the area that’s hard for him. Similarly, in The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires, a little girl tries and tries to make something magnificent, but each time she tries she realizes that her contraption is a failure. In this activity, students will discuss times that they felt frustrated or that they wanted to quit. Additionally, they will come up with a list of strategies to deal with those feelings.
- This is a rich text that deals with themes of dealing with failure and learning to persevere. As you read aloud to the students, pause to discuss:
- What are the girl’s expectations for making the most magnificent thing? (p. 1-6)
- How does the girl feel when things don’t go according to her plan? (p. 7-20)
- On page 21, the girl is so frustrated that she says, “I’m no good at this. I QUIT!” Have you ever felt this way?
- How does the girl deal with this feeling in order to keep on trying?
- What does she learn?
- After finishing the book, ask students:
- What are some strategies we can use to calm down and destress when we experience failure? What strategies can help you to “never give up?”
- Help students make a list of ways they can regroup and persevere. This anchor chart can be titled “What to Do When Something is So Hard You Want to Quit.”
- Some sample responses could be: take a break, ask a friend or teacher for feedback or help, using self-talk, taking deep breaths, breaking the task into smaller parts or steps, making a list, etc.
- The anchor chart entitled “What to Do When Something is So Hard You Want to Quit” can be displayed in the classroom as a reference for teachers and students.
- Every so often (after a challenging task), ask students:
- When you got stuck on a task, or it was frustrating, which of the strategies did you use to regroup and try again?
- How did it feel to persist even though the task was hard?