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The Most Magnificent Thing


found in: language arts & literature; preK-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12

One day, a young girl imagines a magnificent thing and sets out to make it. She tries and she tries, but all her attempts fall short of her vision. She gets mad. She explodes. Her assistant, her dog, suggests a walk. And as they walk, she slowly begins to feel less angry, and when she returns to her work she sees potential in her failures. Most of us have had similar experiences. Every child who has ever stacked blocks has known failure.

The young girl in The Most Magnificent Thing (2014) by Ashley Spires discovers that persistence, adaptability, and occasionally a break, lead to success. Students and teachers will appreciate the picture book’s subtle verbal and visual humor. Students and teachers too will recognize themselves, though they may not admit it. The Most Magnificent Thing will make a good introduction to a design unit or in subject with a creative element, from academic paper writing to science fair projects.

Here are a few lesson plans and other resources to use with the book:

The Most Magnificent Thing (6:11) Video reading. If your personal or school library doesn’t include a copy, this is a good reading with effective camera work.

Teaching Guide ( PDF, 2.3 MB, 7 pgs.) The publisher’s official guide includes three independent and small group activities in goal setting, perseverance, and problem solving, one for grades 1-12, one for grades 4-6, and one for grades 7-8.

Support Materials vocabulary scaffold, activities, word search, memory match, criss-cross, and guides for educators and parents from Reading Is Fundamental.

Lesson Plans for Growth and Mindset ( PDF, 790 KB, 5 pgs.) Activities for grades 4-6 stress perseverance, overcoming obstacles, and learning from mistakes. Includes vocabulary, discussion starters, and writing prompt. Includes printable bookmark template and story planner.

Design Thinking: A Lesson That Connects Classmates (grades 1-8) A multi-day introduction to design thinking that opens with a reading of The Most Magnificent Thing.

Reading Closely: Learning about Habits of Character (grade 1) examines three habits that help students become effective learners: initiative, collaboration, and perseverance. Eleven other lessons use the picture book as a starting point. See: Other lessons.

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