by Sarah Robinson – Primary Teacher, Outside Education

Learning outcomes:

  • To recognise that tricky tasks can produce uncomfortable feelings.
  • To know how to move forward when we feel ‘stuck’ in a task.


  • Book: The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
  • Resource sheet for session 2 (included below)
  • 2 pieces of paper (in different colours)
  • Scissors and glue stick
  • A large piece of paper
  • Felt tip pen(s)

Activity: Read and discuss The Dot

Key points:

  • Vashti thinks she can’t create art at the start of the story and refuses to keep trying. We could say she’s stuck in a fixed mindset. She’s chosen to ‘close’ her brain, like tucking it up in bed or packing it away in a box and closing the lid.
  • Communication is an important part of the story: Vashti expresses her frustration to her teacher. Her teacher is then able to support her and gradually she begins to feel happier and more capable.
  • It’s often helpful to acknowledge your feelings verbally. Try attaching words to your feelings, even if they’re angry words. This is tough, I hate this, I feel like giving up.
  • Acknowledging and expressing frustration to a loved one can help you feel less isolated in your discomfort. Your family members and close friends will want to support you. This is called empathy. You are not alone with your feelings!
  • Try to listen to any encouragement and support you receive. Others might remind you of your unique talents and how capable you are at achieving difficult things (with some practise). This helped Vashti feel a little better about her problem.
  • Once Vashti felt better, she allowed her brain to ‘open up’ again. She decided to continue with her art in a different way. She entered into a growth mindset, enabling new possibilities and solutions to be found.

Activity: Make postersĀ  (I Can Do ItĀ  / I Can’t Do It… Yet)

**** download Growth Mindset 2 Resource Sheet ****

  • Look at the pictures on the resource sheet: it shows examples of achievements and challenges. Do any apply to you? Think about some of your own achievements and also the things you’d like to learn to do, but can’t do at the moment.
  • Cut out the pictures (and create some of your own!) and sort them into two categories: Things I Can Do / Things I Can’t Do… Yet. Stick the pictures on two separate pieces of paper to create your posters and put them up on your wall as a reminder that you can achieve things, given time and practise.
  • Talk about the importance of the word ‘yet’, remembering how capable your brain is.

Activity: Take a pen for a walk

  • Take a large piece of paper and a felt tip pen. With a relaxed hand let your pen travel all over the piece of paper. Try different movements: curves, swirls, straight lines, zig zags etc. Let the pen decide!
  • This is a great ‘take a break’ activity for soothing a frustrated mind and it also creates an unexpected piece of art, just like Vashti’s!