Growing Book By Book and two other bloggers have been putting on "Family Dinner Book Club" for the past few years (you can find more information about it HERE). When I saw that this year's theme was highlighting different 'character strengths' each month, I decided to follow along. I'm using their monthly ideas as a jumping off point to further encourage speech and language development, social-emotional intelligence, increase world knowledge, and develop critical thinking skills in therapy. Bonus: ideas for family carryover are already done!

Our focus character strength for February was PERSISTENCE.

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.  ~Robert Collier

Oh, such a loaded topic and critical ‘strength’! Especially for children with speech-language and learning difficulties. So many of the children and teens I am working with have a ‘fixed’ mindset, or at the very least rigid thinking and low tolerance for persevering through challenges, that I have been wanting to teach about FIXED Mindset versus GROWTH Mindset for a long time. This month's focus concept of persistence provided me with an ideal opportunity. So, we learned about our brains, how we learn, fixed and growth mindsets, as well as the big words 'persistence' and 'perseverence'.

I found some great interactive PowerPoint presentations from Eve Coates on Teachers Pay Teachers. With my elementary and older clients, we worked through one a week throughout the month:

Week 1: Growth Mindset - An Interactive PowerPoint on Persistence and Mistakes

Week 2: Growth Mindset Expansion Pack ~ #1 How the Brain Learns

Week 3: Growth Mindset Expansion Pack ~ #2 Failure and Mistakes

Week 4: Growth Mindset Expansion Pack ~ #3 Perseverance

In therapy sessions throughout February, we also:

  • Read the book Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and discussed
  • Read the book Bubble Gum Brain by Julia Cook and discussed
  • With my middle and high school clients, we read selected page spreads in She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton and discussed
  • We made butter in a jar! I was surprised how invested in this activity each and every one of my clients was! They were amazed. It was also nice to have a relatively quick activity that took persistence, allowed us to review and practice tips for being persistent, and resulted in a tangible "reward" for their work. We then used the leftover buttermilk for a buttermilk chalk art activity.
  • And finally, completed a worksheet to summarize what we had learned about persistence

It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.  ~Albert Einstein

With my high school clients, every week we read and discussed quotes on persistence, followed by them writing a short statement about what the quote means to them / how they can apply the meaning to their lives.

Let me tell you the secret that has led to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.  ~Louis Pasteur

Head on over to this blog post on Growing Book By Book for free materials if you would like to highlight the concept of persistence at home. There is a list of suggested books, discussion questions, and links to suggested activities and accompanying dinner menu for the February Family Dinner Book Club on Persistence. Now that spring is upon us, gardening (indoor or outdoor) could be a fun activity that requires persistence - and results in a very visible "reward" for your efforts!

For more pictures of what we did in therapy, check out the PERSISTENCE album on the Vlinder Facebook page. I also shared several quotes on persistence as well as articles illustrating amazing stories of persistence from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang that just *happened*' to be going on in February.

Courage doesn't always roar, sometimes it's the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering I will try again tomorrow.  ~MaryAnne Radmacher

Related Resources

She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton (from Kirsten's Kaboodle on Teachers Pay Teachers) - we ran out of time, so I haven't actually used this yet, BUT I like it as an extension (written language) activity for older kids

Strengthen Your Amygdala! Social-emotional Growth Mindset! (from Badger State Speechy on Teachers Pay Teachers) 

Growth Mindset for Reading: Story & Activities (from Badger State Speechy on Teachers Pay Teachers)

Growth Mindset for Language Therapy (Middle & High School) (from Badger State Speechy on Teachers Pay Teachers) - I haven't used this resource yet, but it would have fit with our focus this month


Our March focus word is FAIRNESS! Stay tuned...


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