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As I have started the Digital Learning and Leading program, I have grown to see how the power of Growth Mindset is significantly essential in students’ learning. “The students’ growth mindset” will start in the first five days of school and it will incorporate Carol Dweck’s (2010 Mindset website) four steps to changing your mindset. After that week, I will use read-aloud, videos, and classroom meetings to reinforce Growth Mindset. The students should be able to realize that the brain is a muscle and that it is okay to make mistakes. Also, challenging work is an opportunity to learn and grow. As a class, we will be making charts to remind us that we should use praise to reinforce effort, strategy, and process.
First Five Days (with four steps from Dweck’s Mindset website)
Day 1- Step 1- Learning to listen to fixed mindset “voice.” The students will be able to name their fixed mindset (mine is Fanny.) We will read Giraffe Can’t Dance. Gerald the Giraffe is an animal that wants to dance but is made fun of when he tries. The students will learn about the “power of yet,” and they will brainstorm what they have not yet learned in a class poster (inspired by Reed, 2016).
Day 2- Step 2- Recognize that they have a choice in their growth mindset. The students will start to learn that they need to stretch their brain with different processes and strategies. We will read Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by Deak, Ph.D. As they go through the book, they will learn how each of the students needs to have challenges to “grow their brain.” In Smith’s blog, she quotes Dr. Joann Deak- “I can train my brain to be fit and strong and to keep stretching and growing!” Once I finish reading, I will emphasize how amazing our brain is and re-read the sentences, “Making mistakes is one of the best ways your brain learns and grows. If you aren’t willing to risk being wrong, you won’t take the chances that STRETCH your elastic brain (Smith, 2017.)” We will then make “brain slime” (like gak) and have the students stretch “their brains.”
Day 3- Step 3- Talk back to Fanny (fixed mindset) with a growth mindset voice. Since this is the first week of school, the students will realize that “problems” will start to happen when they are learning. We will brainstorm what kinds of “problems” can arise, such as challenges, mistakes, and the feelings that they will never “get it.” What Do You Do With A Problem? will be read and the students will find out what happens to a little boy when he sees “his problem” getting bigger. The problem will be an opportunity for him to learn and grow. A “Fixed Mindset/ Growth Mindset” phrase chart will be added to the classroom decor with the help of the class so the students will be able to start to use these every day.
Day 4- Step 4- Taking the growth mindset to action. On this day, the students will continue to explore “The Power of Yet” by listening to a song that Janelle Monae did on Sesame Street. This is a fun way for the students to see that there are so many things in life that we don’t know “yet.” Then we will read The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School and discuss how the students can take each day as a new day of learning and everything does not have to happen at one time. I will be reminding them that if they already know how to do something, like adding 1 digit by 1 digit, that is not learning and we will be digging deeper in math for them. Just as Mr. Fish (from the story) is having a hard time, it is okay for the students do not know how to do everything “yet.” During the past week, the students will realize that they did not know the routines of the classroom, and they had to be taught and now (hopefully) they are starting to use the methods.
Day 5- Makerspace Day- This day the students will start to incorporate what they have learned during the past week. I will have them record in Seesaw (digital portfolio) on how they are feeling about growth mindset. They will be introduced to different games like Gravity Maze and be able to create things with random materials. These activities will continue during their center times during the year.
Going On/ Conclusion
After the first week, the students and I will be having classroom meetings in which we continue the discussion on Growth Mindset. If I see that something we have talked about is becoming an issue, I will even stop and start the classroom meeting. As we continue the year, I look at the students commenting about each other’s work with “growth mindset” phrases. They will be able to start creating things/ games in which some might not work. This will be great because they will be able to use those mistakes or challenges as a way to grow their minds. As the students are learning about the growth mindset, I will be able to see how their brains are molding, and my mind will be growing too. This will influence the way I will approach my work at school and in my master’s studies.
- Andreae, G., & Parker-Rees, G. (2001). Giraffes can’t dance. New York: Orchard Books.
- Deak, J. M., & Ackerley, S. (2010). Your fantastic elastic brain: Stretch it, shape it. Belvedere, California: Little Pickle.
- Diesen, D. (2014). The pout-pout fish goes to school. London: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.
- Dweck, C. (2016). Mindset- the new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine Books.
- Dweck, C. (2010). How can you change your mindset from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset? Mindset. http://mindsetonline.com/changeyourmindset/firststeps/index.html
- Monae, J. (2014, September 10). Power of Yet. On Sesame Street. New York: Sesame Workshop. https://youtu.be/XLeUvZvuvAs
- Reed, C. (2016). Growth Mindset: The Power of Yet. Retrieved from https://brownbagteacher.com/growth-mindset/
- Smith, K. (2017, August 19). Developing a Growth Mindset In Young Learners. A Day in First Grade. adayinfirstgrade.com/2017/08/developing-a-growth-mindset-in-young-learners.html
- Yamada, K. (2016). What do you do with A problem? China: Compendium, Inc.
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