The power of yet

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Growth mindset ~ I know, I know you've been hearing about if for a while now.  You may think it's just a new educational 'buzz' word but just hear me out....
Growth mindset has totally changed the trajectory of my classroom over the last 2 years.  It has truly been a mind shift for myself and my students and I've fallen in love with the concept!

growth mindset and the power of yet

Welcome to another edition of 

I'm here to talk to you all things Growth Mindset.  I know I've shared some growth mindset posts in the past that had products I've made that were helpful but I want to talk to you about implementing it.  You can implement it at any point in the year but I will say starting at the beginning of the year is helpful.
It truly can become the culture of your classroom if you do it right.  We all want a safe, fun, engaging, family type climate to our classroom right?!?!  Well, I'm gonna tell you growth mindset can definitely help you get there.
It will take some buy in from your students - I'm guessing you have already bought in so it will be easier to sell your students on it.  When your students hear you using growth mindset 'talk' they will follow suit.  They will see that it is the norm of your classroom and expected and you will see them start to use it with their peers.  It's such fun to watch!
As you work through math, etc as the teacher do 'think alouds'.  Kinda like you would in a read aloud.  But, say things out loud to yourself like, " I haven't done a math problem like this in years...but I know if I work though it then it will all come back to me."  "I've got this!"  I do this all.the.time guys!  Your students will get a kick out of it, but seriously I tell them - we didn't learn math this way so I'm new to this too.  This helps you become so much more relate able to them.
As you introduce it you definitely need to explain to your students the differences between a fixed and growth mindset so they understand.  Maybe they can think of a time in the past when they have experienced both.  This would be a great time to have them pair share with a peer and give examples of both so they can have a deeper understanding of it.  I heard students say things like, " I had a fixed mindset when I got mad during soccer and had trouble passing."  I stormed off the field at the end of practice.  Or, I had a growth mindset during piano because I wouldn't go outside and play until I learned the ending to a song I was practicing.  I finally got it and felt really proud for not giving up.  They start to see it in their lives as they reflect which is awesome!
There are several activities you can do to reinforce this, sorts, books to read, etc.  But honestly the key to having a successful growth mindset in your classroom is revisiting it all day long and making it a natural part of your dialogue.  Anytime you can apply it, bring it up, like I said this helps it become a culture in your classroom.  I may mention, " Sydney had a growth mindset moment today during reading, she used her reading strategies and word attack skills to figure out some hard vocabulary words. "  Things like this will stick out in the kids minds and they will want to be recognized for the same thing.  You will see them persevering without even thinking about it, soon it will become second nature and you won't have to fight a battle with those kids that tend to give up easilyIt's honestly magical!!!
Once you start to see this happening frequently you can move onto the strategy and feedback stages of growth mindset.  Your students need to do more than recognize when they need to use it in their lives, they need to use it in deeper and more meaningful ways as well.  These are what I like to call extensions of growth mindset.  They need to pull from a variety of strategies when they are struggling or ready to give up.  Sometimes they need to see what might be setting them up for failure and address that first.  If it's negative self talk, lack of confidence, etc.  This is hard for little guys to do but if you teach upper grades/ middle or high this is feasible.  
Next, they need to work on giving and accepting feedback - positive or negative.  Learning to accept criticism and move on and improve from it is key in lifeI teach my students that we can learn from constructive criticism and make our lives better.  I give them the example of when the principal comes in to observe me.  He gives me constructive criticism/feedback and I can improve my teaching practices and be a better teacher for them.  I don't get mad or insecure, I learn from it and move on.  That is hard for kids but certainly doable!  

growth mindset and the power of yet

All of these ideas will help your growth mindset class be set up for success but you need to slowly introduce it.  Use growth mindset type sayings often like, " you did it!"  "You can persevere, keep trying, I know you can do it, believe you can, it will just take time", etc.  Discourage fixed mindset talk like, "I'll never be able to do this" and call it what it is!  I have said to students, "oh my, we don't say that in our class, that is a fixed mindset."  "We can turn this around, how can we approach this instead!"  Just like I don't allow bullying or laughing at someone - I also don't allow fixed mindset talk.  The kids know this and learn it quickly.  They quickly change their self and peer talk.  It's so fun to hear students say to kids that would typically use fixed mindset talk.  They say, "you can do this, just change your thinking, you got this!"  It makes my heart so happy!  With a little care, some modeling and gentle encouraging you can completely change the culture of your classroom.  I interviewed a couple kids and asked them how growth mindset has changed their thinking and this is what they said: 

I hope this has encouraged you to give it a shot, if you feel like you might need some resources to help you out here are a few links you can take a peek at:

growth mindset activities and pack

growth mindset activities

growth mindset giraffes can't dance

I hope this has helped you realize that you can easily introduce and continue a strong growth mindset presence in your classroom with just a little effort.  You got this teachers, message me or visit my instagram and let me know how it goes. 
As always... happy teaching! 

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