Yes, You Can!

K, 1, 2
Students will hear a story that illustrates how a young African-American girl is encouraged by her family to be anything that she wants to be regardless of how her classmates discourage her from trying out for a part in a play.
Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Thirty-Minute Class Period
The learner will:
  • identify and describe the behaviors of the characters.
  • describe techniques used to discourage and encourage the main character, noticing how people influence each other.
  • discuss the ways families work together to encourage and support each other.
  • Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman (see Bibliographical References)
  • Journals or paper
  • Hoffman, Mary. Amazing Grace. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1991. ISBN: 0803710402.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask students to recall a time that they really wanted to do something and someone said, "That's too hard for you." Ask those students to explain what they did and how they felt when they heard that. Tell the students that in the story you are going to read, Grace is told that she can't do something. Let's see what Grace does . . .

    Teacher Note: Be sensitive to varied family structures when discussing family / household.

  2. Read the book to the class in a shared-reading experience, guiding their attention to detail and helping to increase their comprehension through questions. Encourage them to predict what might happen next as you read. Ask students to identify the feelings of the characters throughout the reading.
  3. Discuss how Grace acted when she was told she couldn't be Peter Pan. How did her family act and what did they do and say? Why did people tell her she couldn't do it? Discuss and label the attitudes of the different characters. How might the characters act differently next time? Discuss how people influence each other in the story and in the classroom. What techniques are helpful and which are harmful?
  4. Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good. How did Grace act like a philanthropist? How can you encourage other students at school?
  5. Ask students to think of a time they were afraid to do something hard and their families encouraged them. Students draw a picture in their journals of such a time.
  6. Reread the book, inviting children to join in if they remember words or phrases.
  7. Have students role-play small parts of the story, especially the scenes in which her family members encourage her.
Note and record as appropriate how children: discuss and label the attitudes of the characters. describe how a family member or friend gave them encouragement to try a difficult task and draw an example in their journals. suggest how classmates can encourage each other in school. encourage each other in the role-playing

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify examples of families supporting giving and sharing.