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Encouraging Growth Mindset in the Classroom (with a FREEBIE)

Excited child with text "encouraging growth mindset in the classroom"

Of late, there has been a lot of talk in the media and education circles about the importance of building ‘resilient’ learners. In essence this means teaching students to have a growth mindset. So, how do we encourage a growth mindset in the classroom?  First, we need to know what a growth mindset is...

What is a growth mindset? 

A growth mindset is a person’s belief about the nature of intelligence. Although we are born with a certain level of intelligence, we can develop it during the course of our lives through effort, strategies, facing challenges and learning from our mistakes. If a student has a growth mindset, it means that when they face a challenge and fail, they tend to be more persistent and this in turn improves their ability to learn. Having a growth mindset should ensure that students reach their full potential. 

As students begin to develop a growth mindset, they will no longer need to engage in various self-protection strategies. This will, in turn, improve behavior, increase general outlook and help them control their emotions. 

What is a fixed mindset? 

Conversely, if you have a fixed mindset, you believe that you are born in a particular way and don’t have much scope for change. If a student with a fixed mindset fails at something, they tell themselves that it’s because of who they are and there’s not a lot they can do about it. Students who have a fixed mindset can fail to reach their potential – they believe they can’t change and therefore have no strategies for coping when things get a little tough. Because these students avoid challenges, lack effort and perseverance, they deny themselves the opportunity to improve. 

Research tells us that most children naturally have a growth mindset, but their experiences at home and school can change that. At a very young age, they realise that people around them are making judgments about their ability and as a result of this, begin to make judgments about themselves. 

Ways to develop a growth mindset: 

1. Think about the language you use when talking to your students. For example: ‘You are so good at Math’ – using fixed language like this can lead a student to believing they are ONLY good at Math, thus developing a fixed mindset where they don’t believe they can change, grow and improve in all areas. 
It’s natural to want to praise children when they do something well, but we need to do this carefully. Praising students without clarifying the process by which they got to that point, can lead to the belief that being good at something is out of their control. Understanding how they got there is key! Praise the process! 

2. Give focused feedback – positive and negative. ‘I love how you drawn that person’s face – I can see their happy expression’ or ‘I think you could get this math problem right if you tried again. Your feedback encourages students to build strategies when they are struggling – you are telling them to try again, try harder or try another way. 

3. Having high expectations and challenging your students will help them perform better. (Low expectations create less growth in the brain). However, don’t make the mistake of equating high expectations with pressure – ‘I will be disappointed if you don’t get this *task* right’ will only lead to self-doubt and failure. 

4. Train your students to celebrate mistakes, rather than hiding them. Some schools have a learning mistakes board. Students are given time to share the mistakes they have made that day and discuss what they have learnt from them. Helping students to face their mistakes head on will lead them to see these as a necessary part of the learning experience for all students. 

5. Use inspiring role models in your classroom. Think about your child’s favorite athlete or musician and talk about their journey to success. We call this ‘unravelling the talent myth’. If someone has done well we have a tendency to think they were born that way. Rather than focusing on somebody’s ‘natural talents’, focus on their early efforts, strong work ethic, and the mistakes and learning that led them to where they are now. 

This clip may be useful to show your students: 

To help students understand what a growth mindset is, many teachers employ growth mindset quotes and create bulletin boards with them. 

I made the following set for my classroom and combined them with the current trend for ‘mindfulness’ through coloring. 

Click here for your Growth Mindset Quotes and Coloring Posters Pack on TpT

This pack of 25 growth mindset quotes on coloring pages for students is a great addition to your elementary classroom and an ideal medium for developing a growth mindset in your students. 
The printables, once completed, create a colorful display on bulletin boards and remind your students of the 'power of yet' and the ability of their brains to grow! Students can also place the posters in their binders or notebooks for constant motivation.  Added bonus: great for fine motor skills too!

Would you like to try them? Grab this little freebie {here}.

Click here for your FREE growth mindset coloring printable

...and always remember - THE POWER OF YET!

Winter Write About The Picture {editable}

So…..I started this resource a few years back when I needed something for my littlies who were struggling with writing. Unfortunately, I never got it finished at that time – no surprise! 

With my new goals for this year, I am revisiting all my ‘started, but never finished’ resources. Some ended up being trashed, but others, I felt, still had merit! 

On those ‘tiring, stressful, run out of ideas’ days when you just need someone to do it for you – this ‘grab and go’ resource should prove useful. I really needed some printable resources for my below grade writers, especially for evidence folders. These printables needed to be flexible, include differentiation, as well as the opportunity for these emerging writers to extend their sentences. They also needed to be well-structured, with a simple format that my students could cope with. 

I decided that writing about a picture would provide the scaffolding that my students needed. By making it seasonal, I hoped that my students would be a little more engaged.

Click on the image to find this resource!
My main goal was to enable my students to achieve some level of success with independent writing. 
Fast forward to the present and this is the finished result!
Click on the image to find this resource!
Students have been provided with a word bank to help with spelling and encourage ideas for writing. 

To begin to extend sentences, color words have been included. Students should first color the picture with the ‘best’ color, then use the finished colored picture to enable them to begin to write longer sentences. This is the core of this resource. 

Teaching Points:
  • Students will need some prior knowledge of what it means to extend a sentence and the role that adjectives can play in this 
  • Students should be encouraged to use as many colors as possible to color their pictures 

  1. Alternative handwriting lines 
  2. A second bordered page for students who wish to write at length 
  3. The photo section provides more difficult vocabulary and could lead more able writers towards a what happened next story writing style, should the teacher wish to lead them in this direction 
  4. An editable version of all content has been provided for the teacher to make vocabulary choices. Just type your chosen words in each box! 
This resource will work equally well as a ‘grab and go’ resource or as a small group activity where students are encouraged to verbalize their sentences first. 

For the next 48 hours this Winter Write About The Picture will be discounted by 50% - so don’t miss out! 

If you ever have time, I would love to know: 
  • how you have integrated these printables into your writing curriculum 
  • how your students responded 
  • successes achieved – my favorite bit! 
PS:  The file contains both a US version and a UK version.

Teacher Treat Tuesday

My first post of 2018 – a bit overdue, but it has taken me a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things! 

I hope everyone enjoyed their winter break – I definitely needed to relax!! My dear hubby surprised me with a May break on a Spanish island – so I think I have been rather spoiled! 

I have been thinking a lot about 2017 and know I need to make some major changes. Like many others, I do not have a good work/life balance, so I have been working on this since the new year to try and find a schedule that works for me. I am determined to try it for a month to see how it works out. At the moment, I am finding it hard to adjust, but I have never been good with change! One big upside is that my husband is very much enjoying the fruits of my new schedule – if he gets fed, he is happy – lol! 

I have identified lots of keywords I need to keep in mind for 2018, but the main one has to be CONSISTENCY – this is key for me in every area of my life! 

Personal goals are to lose weight and do more exercise – I bet many of you have these goals too! My health continues to be an issue, so I really need to be CONSISTENT! I have joined a weight loss class, although it is more about food optimization, have started to walk a little bit every day and the icing on the cake – hubby and I go swimming together once a week – this is big change for us!! 

Anyhow – that is my quick update! If you feel like it, leave me a comment about your goals for this year – I would love to hear from you! 

I am bringing back Teacher Treat Tuesday for 2018! For January, I am thinking any of the following freebies might be useful for you: 
  • Winter 
  • Martin Luther King 
  • 100th Day 
  • Digraphs 
  • Graphing 
  • CVCE words 
Can you add something to the list?  Speak soon!

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