Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina

Contents

● Educational Principles

● Teaching Resources

● Teaching Ideas

3 lessons a clumsy kangaroo can teach children about self esteem, and persistence in the face of setbacks.

Exploring growth mindset qualities and principles exhibited by Thumpalina, the kangaroo ballerina:

Thumpalina is a story about a Kangaroo whose limited dancing abilities cause a bridge to collapse, sending her crashing into the lake. Despite having the potential for being a humiliating catastrophe, this story is an empowering triumph. How is the possible? The answers lie in the mindset of our leading lady, Thumpalina.

1. Thumpalina does not avoid an opportunity to learn through fear of embarrassment or humiliation.

The opening lines of Thumpalina describe the qualities people expect from a ballerina, such as grace and elegance. It continues by quickly confirming that Thumpalina does not possess these qualities. In fact, her dancing is so unusual that people can’t believe it. However, rather than setting the scene for a tale of embarrassment and misery, this introduction is bursting with optimism and empowerment because the overwhelming message is that whatever happens, Thumpalina is going to OWN IT!

Thumpalina isn’t afraid of embarrassing herself in front of others. She isn’t afraid of not looking graceful or talented. Nor is she afraid that someone might be better than her. Thumpalina stands proud, poised to begin her dance with no concern for validation or the opinions of others.

Thumpalina begins to dance, bouncing around like a pinball in an arcade game. Grace and elegance are relegated to irrelevance as Thumpalina’s joyful dancing transcends any conventions or expectations of a ballerina. Her joy is contagious and inspiring.

2. Thumpalina’s attitude and effort are her defining qualities.

Thumpalina’s happiness can’t be contained, she is completely uninhibited as she embraces her abilities.

She challenges herself with complicated choreography beyond her capabilities. When she attempts an arabesque she falls in the dirt. But she gets right back up and keeps on going!

Thumpalina isn’t dancing to impress others with her abilities. Nor is she dancing so people will tell her she’s talented in order build her own self esteem. Thumpalina’s enjoyment of this experience comes from within. She is dancing for herself.

“Self esteem is something completely different in the incremental system (growth mindset) it’s not an internal quality that is fed by easy successes and diminished by failures. It is a positive way of experiencing yourself when you are fully engaged and are using your abilities to the utmost, in the pursuit of something you love.”

Carol Dweck | Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development (Essays in Social Psychology)

Thumpalina’s efforts are focused on the pursuit of something she loves. She isn’t looking for shorts cuts, quick fixes or an alternative activity that will make her look talented or clever, she just keeps dancing. Thumpalina dances from location to location, she even dances in the dark!

Despite a lack of visible progress, Thumpalina shows no signs of demotivation or unhappiness. She is committed to developing her abilities over time in the framework of who she is.

3. Thumpalina is persistent in the face of setbacks.

When Thumpalina dances on the bridge it shows signs of instability but she is too focused on her dancing to notice. Unable to withstand her thumps and bumps, the bridge collapses and Thumpalina crashes into the lake below.

Rather than feeling embarrassed or getting upset and giving up, Thumpalina enthusiastically waves her friends over to join her and without hesitation continues to dance, in the lake.

And this is where the story ends, with Thumpalina happily splashing around in the lake with her friends. It doesn’t end with Thumpalina transforming into a graceful ballerina. Nor does it end in redeeming fame, public validation or critical acclaim. Thumpalina doesn’t need these things to feel good about herself because her self esteem is not founded on praise from others.

“Self esteem is not something you give to people by telling them about their high intelligence. It is something we equip them to get for themselves by teaching them to value learning over the appearance of smartness, to relish challenge and effort and to use errors as a rout to mastery.”

Carol Dweck | Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development (Essays in Social Psychology)

Praise the process

Carol Dweck advises parents and teachers to ‘praise the process’ of learning.

“Don’t praise intelligence or talent, praise the process; the child’s hard work, strategies, focus, persistence. Those create a growth mindset and make the child love challenges and react well to setbacks.” - Carol Dweck | Inside Quest – Carol Dweck on the Growth Mindset, Embracing Failure, and Middle East Peace”

This story of Thumpalina is an uplifting celebration of the effort and persistence necessary to make meaningful development over time: ‘the process’.

Thumpalina is a self-motivated child on a learning trajectory. She faces challenges but she embraces the struggles and she doesn’t back off, she GOES FOR IT!

Download Lyrics for Thumpalina

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Thumpalina Slideshow with Lyrics

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I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 1 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 2 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 3 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 4 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 5 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 6 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 7 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 8 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 9 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 10 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 11 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 12 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 13 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 14 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 15 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

I HAVE A GO - Thumpalina the Kangaroo Ballerina - SLIDE 16 - Growth Mindset Video for Kids - Self Esteem

Teaching Ideas

GROWTH MINDSET
● What growth mindset qualities does Thumpalina show?
● How do we know Thumpalina has a growth mindset?
● How does Thumpalina show her persistence?
● How does Thumpalina show that she has self esteem?
● What setbacks does Thumpalina face?
● How does Thumpalina deal with her setbacks?

ENGLISH
● Rewrite Thumpalina as a different animal. How would this new animal dance?
● Write your own story about what Thumpalina does when she finishes dancing in the lake.
● Write a list of different reactions that Thumpalina could have had when she fell into the lake.
● Thumpalina enjoys dancing. Write a story about doing something you enjoy doing.

SCIENCE
● Can animals have a growth mindset?
● Discover some unique facts about kangaroos.
● Discover some unique facts about wombats.
● Discover some unique facts about sugar gliders.

WATER SAFETY
● Discuss safety in and around water.

ART
● Spinning Thumpalinas (Coming Soon)

MUSIC
● If you listen to Thumpalina with your eyes closed, what instruments can you hear?
● Think of another song Thumpalina would like to dance to? Mute the sound on Thumpalina and play your song choice over the top.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION
● Dance along with Thumpalina.
● Pretend you're a different animal and dance along to Thumpalina how that animal might dance.

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