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Using The “Carrots, Eggs & Coffee” Story In Class

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I’ve previously posted about the lesson I do on “grit” and a “growth mindset” (see Have You Ever Had A Student Say “This Is Boring”? Here’s A Lesson On It I’m Trying Out Tomorrow) and which I share more extensively in my book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves.

One of the points of the lesson is to help learn what a man who worked with Gandhi described to me as the key to his success: “Gandhi looked at problems as opportunities, not as pains in the butt.”

And, though I’m wary of sending a message that all problems can be traced to how we respond to them (since some problems we face justifiably should provoke anger and action to hold others accountable), reflecting on how we can “make lemonade out of lemons” can also be an important lesson our students can learn.

I’ve just learned about an apparently popular story called “Carrots, Eggs and Coffee,” which many readers might already know — it’s about dealing with adversity. There are tons of versions on the Web.

As a follow-up to the grit and mindset lessons, I’m going to have students read it (you can find a nice version at the Creativity Post — the first three paragraphs tell the story. I wouldn’t use the interpretation that follows in that post).

I’m thinking of having students read it in pairs. Then, I’d ask them to work with their partner to interpret what it means. I think at least some would come up with a “lemonade out of lemon” type perspective. Then I’d show them this video, and then ask them to write about a time when they were successful at doing just that (after I gave them some examples from my life). I’d end it by having them remember a time in school and another time out of school when they could have done the same thing, but did not.

What do you think? Other ideas?

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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