Unit 9

Skills Building: The Thing Lou Couldn't Do (PK-5)

Unit 9 Skills Building

Written and Illustrated by Ashley Spires

TEKS: Reading K.5(D); 1.6(D); 2.6(D); 3.6(D); 4.6(D); 5.6(D)

Pre Reading Questions

  1. Have you ever not tried something new because you thought you couldn’t
    do it?
  2. What is something that you challenged yourself to do? Thinking of this
    challenge, what made you decide to work hard at it?
  3. What is something that you are working on? It could be in school, in a sport, in your free time, etc.

Post Reading Questions

  1. What did Lou do at the end of the book?
  2. What were some emotions Lou felt while her friends were climbing the tree?
  3. How do you think Lou felt at the end of the book?
  4. In the book Lou said, “She knew it, she can’t climb…Not YET anyway.” What is something that you can’t do yet?
  5. How can you be like Lou was at the end of the story? What are some things that you are afraid to try?

Creative Enrichment Activity: The Power of Yet! (PK-5)

Overview: In the book, The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do, Lou makes up lots of excuses to not climb the tree with her friends because climbing trees is something she can’t do…yet! Having a growth mindset means that you understand that there are things that you can do and things that you can’t do but, just because you can’t do something right now, does not mean that you will never be able to do it! When you have a fixed mindset, you believe that your brain just is the way that it is and that you cannot do certain things. Having a growth mindset is good for our future selves, for l earning new things, and for creating a strong and flexible brain muscle! In this activity, you will design your own strong brain and draw something that you can do now and something that you can’t do just yet!

Download the Template


  • Brain template printed on cardstock (printed double-sided with the brain on both sides, the second page of the template should be upside-down for printing purposes)
  • Shoe and hand/weight templates (printed single-sided)
  • Strips of paper
    ○ About 11 inches long (the long side of regular printer paper),
    ○ Four per person
  • Color pencils/crayons/markers
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Duration: 45-50 minutes (for staff: 5-minute pre-activity setup, 15-minute prep)
● 5 minutes: Introduce the activity
● 15 minutes: Decorate the brain, shoes, and hands, draw the “I can” and “I can’t…yet!”
● 15 minutes: Cut out and assemble all pieces
● 5 minutes: Clean up
● 5 minutes: Reflect and share


  1. Staff should print templates on card stock prior to the activity.
    a. The brain template should be printed double-sided with the brain on both sides, the second page of the template should be upside-down for printing purposes so that it will align when
    b. The shoe and hand/weight templates should be printed single-sided
  2. Introduce the activity using the book.
  3. Students decorate and color the brain, shoes, and hands
  4. Students draw one thing that they can do and one thing they want to l earn to do but cannot do yet.
  5.  Students cut out all the pieces.
    a. Older students can cut these on their own
    b. Staff should pre-cut some of the pieces for the younger students
  6. Take the strips of paper and fold them “accordion style” back and forth to make the limbs springy and
  7. Tape the four pieces of accordion-folded paper to different parts of the brain to create the arms and legs.
  8. Tape the hands and shoes to the arms and legs.
  9. Clean up the materials.
  10. Reflect as a group.

Reflection Questions

  • What i s one thing that you can do? What is one thing that you can’t do yet?
  • Why do you want to l earn how to do this new thing?
  • Why do you think it is important to have a growth mindset?
  • How can you work to make your brain strong and flexible?