Can We make a Football? The Magic of Not Saying No

 Do you want to Build a Football?

During Recess workshop for grades 1 and 2 one of the boys asked me “Can we make a football?” I have never ever even thought of making a football and I had to think about it for a second before I pointed to the fabric bin and asked the student “Can you find anything in there that would be good football material?”

Best Answer

This was the best answer I could come up with because I wasn’t 100% sure we could do this. While the boys (2 of them now) searched for material I searched for a pattern and was lucky to find one quickly on the blog Made by Joel?  The students and I looked at the pattern and I asked them how many pieces they would need. They worked it out that they would need 4 and they started tracing the patterns onto their cloth with crayons. By the end of recess, they had their pieces cut out.


Afterschool, I borrowed their pattern and quickly made a football of my own. I was delighted when I realized I could fill the football with a balloon!  Joel, in the original, post suggests fabric scraps for fill, and that works for me too.

I am sure this “make a ball” project will become a regular feature in my sewing workshops, especially considering the project doesn’t need high-quality fiber fill to be successful.

I am not a football player or watcher, but I got to participate in the student’s passion. They found the connection. All I had to do was not say no.

What if you didn’t say no?

If you took that “yes, and” tool we tell the kids to use and applied it to student interactions like it was the law?

When the boys asked to make a football, I was already apologizing to other students because I was not set up for sewing this recess. The easy thing is to say no, and follow it with reasons, you can always find 100 reasons for no. But the reason for yes is singular.

If I never say no, and always help kids find a way to make things happen, maybe they learn that they can make anything happen.

I can’t be the guy that tells them no. I need to be the guy who helps them build a light-up angler fish.

When I finished my first football today I was energized and really happy because the ball was the strangest and most unexpected thing I had made recently.

I got to learn how to do this by not saying no.  I remember this to keep myself in the game. To keep me not saying no, even when I have been teaching all morning.

I am really excited about the footballs I have yet to make and I can’t wait to see what the students create.

How do you challenge yourself to learn more from your students?

About the author, Jeffrey Bradbury

Jeff Bradbury, creator of TeacherCast, and father of the famous @EduTriplets Thanks for checking out TeacherCast today. Please take a moment to find me on all of my Social Media channels!

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