Success comes in cans not in can'ts - ELSA Support

Success comes in cans not in can’ts

I love quotes for teaching children. They can be inspiring and are short and simple enough for children to remember. I have just created this poster set which has lots of quotes around having a ‘growth mindset’. This post is on one of those posters so you can see how easy it is to create a lesson from one of the quotes.

This quote is a particular favourite of mine.

poster 15

Success comes in cans not in can’ts


Sit everyone in a circle and show the poster. “Can anyone tell me what ‘success’ means?” Discuss as a group the meaning of success. Success is when you achieve something, sometimes it is hard work to get there but when you do get there it feels good.

Ask the children to give suggestions of times when they were successful by using the sentence stem ‘I can…’ examples could be ‘I can read’, ‘I can write’, ‘I can swim’, ‘I can do a hand stand’, ‘I can count to a 100’. Their successes could be anything at all.

Ask the children to tell you how they felt when they achieved something? Use the sentence stem ‘I feel_______ because I can __________’

Ask the following questions and take the children’s answers.

  • “Is it always easy to succeed at something?”
  • “Is it sometimes hard work?”
  • “What happens if you keep trying even though it is hard?”
  • “Has anyone ever said ‘I can’t’ when asked to do something?”
  • “Why is it important not to say ‘I can’t'”
  • “Would you EVER achieve any successes if you always said ‘I can’t'”

Ask the children to fill in the success sheet and come back to the circle.


Ask the children to share their successes with everyone else but also to say how they managed to succeed. Use the sentence stem ‘I can ____________ because _________________’

Use these examples of what you want them to think about:

  • I can read because I read at home everyday.
  • I can swim because I go to swimming lessons every week.
  • I can ride my bike because I kept trying and trying.

Give the children the My I can can sheet to take away with them. Ask them to fill the can with all the things they can do. They can write things on the can as they think of them and then decorate the can with coloured pencils.

i can


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