Mindsets in the Classroom: Chapter 9

Good Morning!

Can you believe it? We are almost done with Mindsets in the Classroom. This month has just flown by but it was jam packed with some amazing new ideas. Today's chapter was all about maintaining a growth mindset school culture.
We all know the importance of creating and maintaining a growth mindset in our classrooms, but our classrooms are not the only place our students visit on our school campuses each day. It is just as important to make sure that the entire school creates and maintains a growth mindset so that students are receiving the same message no matter where they are on campus. 

Ricci states that maintaining a growth mindset should be included in a school's yearly improvement plan. She also recommends that at least 15 minutes of each staff meeting be set aside to discuss areas of strength and areas of improvement for the growth mindset school culture. I love this idea. We have staff meetings once a month at our school and that would be an excellent opportunity to talk with coworkers and administrators about how things are going, share ideas, concerns, etc. about how students are maintaining their positive, keep trying attitude towards their learning. Its also a great opportunity to make sure that we as a staff are maintaining a growth mindset. We are the example to the students and parents who walk on our campuses so it is important for us to maintain our growth mindset as well. Encouraging and helping each other is a big part of that.

Ricci continues by reminding us of some important pieces to maintaining a growth mindset in each of classrooms which impacts the environment of the campus. The first was that our students need to have a trusting, positive relationship with us. We all know how important this is in our classrooms. Our students need to feel comfortable and encourage when they are with us. This is an important part of their learning.

The second was a reminder for a fear free classroom. Students who are afraid of failure have a difficult time learning and are not very interested in taking risks with their learning. We need to be continually reminding our students that failure is not the end and that it is ok. Its just a step along the path to learning. We need to make sure they understand this so that their fear is not an obstacle to all the wonderful things we get to teach them while they are with us.

The final reminder was for differentiation. A student is not going to learn if the work is too easy or too challenging. We need to be reaching out to our students on their level and challenging them from there. Making sure that we are reaching them on their level is going to help keep them engaged and focused on learning.

Ricci closes by encouraging schools to remain engaged in maintaining a growth mindset and to continually look for ways to embed this mindset into our curriculum.  This is a commitment and will take the continual discussions in staff meetings and with coworkers throughout a work week but it is important to keep at it. Our students need to learn the importance of perseverance and hard work.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts. Please share yours with us. We would love to know your thoughts and ideas.



21 comments :

  1. Ashley, first of all I'm sad I missed the AZ blogger meet up. I was looking forward to meeting all of you. Thanks for sharing your post. Because of this book study I will forever remember to celebrate failure! The clip from the Disney movie is perfect. My classroom will be a fear-free zone!
    Sylvia

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  2. Chapter 9: I like the chart, figure 26. I think it is a great reference to quickly look at to make sure I, as a teacher, am staying on track. I do wonder how do you get 100% of your staff invested or become stakeholders. I feel there are always a few who do not buy in, and if a few do not buy in it makes it hard for a growth mindset across the school to be successful.

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    1. I think that when this mindset is adopted by the students, how can we all not be dedicated to growing our own mindset? I think it is so exciting!!

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  3. We really need to make sure that our students know that our classrooms are a safe place where we will be learning new and exciting things, and along with the learning there will be failures and that is OK. Once they understand this and are comfortable teaching and implementing a growth mindset will be easier. I also share Heathers concern. What if everyone doesn't buy in?? Can this be implemented if there are a few that don't want to do it?

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    1. How can a growth mindset NOT be contagious. You can promote that Carla!! I know you can :)

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    2. I agree with Carla! I am so glad I decided to read this book this Summer, and have the opportunity to read everyone's posts. I really have enjoyed reading your posts Carla!!

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  4. I hope that as we model the growth mindset and work to maintain a growth mindset among our students, that a shift from a "fixed" mindset to a "growth mindset" will prevail schoolwide! The author leaves us with 3 reminders about maintaining a growth mindset in our classrooms which then impacts the entire school culture: 1) classrooms should be safe zones with positive teacher-student relationships, 2) classrooms should be fear-free zones and 3) classrooms should be differentiated and responsive to all student needs.

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    1. That is my hope as well, Shawn. I think our staff can do this along with our students and parents.

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  5. I don't think this will be hard for our staff to implement because for the most part we already have a growth mindset.

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  6. This has been the best book study in which I have participated. I would agree with all of the comments made about the implementation at our school. I think it is contagious when you think about the difference it will make in our students' enjoying being at school and really pushing themselves to persevere through their struggles. Not everyone will be ready to accept the growth mindset YET, but eventually I think everyone will get there.

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  7. This book is straight to the point and very mind catching!! I am super excited about implementing growth mindset this upcoming school year. Not to mention, I have a teammate right next door, who is 110% on board with me, this is going to make for a very fun school year! Alright Jessica, we've got to get busy with ideas on how we want to make this growth mindset happen and it be super contagious that our students catch it from day one! I think this starts with administration and them implementing it with the staff, like we would with out students. Eventually everyone will catch on. It will not be that hard to implement once the ball gets rolling. I'm super excited I decided to do this book study. I'm very thankful our admin found this book for us to participate in.

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    1. We are working on ideas with the staff...but I am always open to suggestions! I am so excited for potential benefits this book study will have on our students and teachers!

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  8. This book is very practical and has great ideas for us to use in order to begin a growth mindset philosophy at Copper Ridge.

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  9. We've got to really introduce and reinforce the growth mindset for it to take hold and work. Even if it's the 18 millionth time I've explained how to work something my students have to know that it's ok for them to ask for the 18 millionth and one time. Our kids have to know they are safe, they are supported and they are cared for. One way I plan on really helping myself stay on track is using the "Look Fors" from page 143-144. It's an excellent, straight to it, reference point that will help refresh my memory.

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  10. I buy in to the concept that growth mindset should be a focus from beginning to the end. Reinforcement, exposure, and knowledge will help retention for both student, teachers, and staff. The environment focus would be one where the student would not be in fear of taking risk or judged. The book states that a trusting relationship between student and teacher is important. I also believe in my personal opinion that student to student relationships are important. They need to trust that the other students will support not put them down for their participation. I like the phrase,"Fear Free" environment. If we have this in place we can allow all to shine like stars.

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  11. Powerful to me..."Empathetic teachers ask themselves if they would want someone to say or do to them what they have just said or done to a student, colleague or parent." I have been guilty of thinking at the end of the day, "I could have said that differently." I love the idea of a fear-free zone. This will be my number one goal in implementing a growth mindset. Fear is so intense that it can shut down the cognitive process and force the brain to focus on the source. Ongoing Assessment, Flexible/Fluid Grouping Practices, Curriculum Compacting & High Expectations for all students, Questioning at higher-level, Acceleration and Enrichment, Environment...all in Figure 26. (I will copy and refer to often)

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  12. This chapter delved into the impact we have when students are afraid in the classroom. Which confirms a concern we have all known for years, students with a mind in turmoil from home events can not learn. We grieve their woes and get frustrated when they seem to never focus or be able to keep up with things. Just imagine, if home has been a horror show this morning, then school is a negative pressure filled environment. At least, we can control what we do and how we set our minds. We can offer a place that lifts their spirit and provides opportunity for safety and accomplishment. I hope as we move through the year parents will become interested in and want to learn about growth mindset. Maybe we could move beyond just offering that safe place in our room, but teaching families how to have a Fear Free environment at home as well. So much of home life has passed down and passed down so yelling and threatening or expectations or lack of my be from non-exposure to another way of home life. Start in me, then my students, and hopeful on to the homes.

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  13. The idea that there should be fear with failure. Albert Einstein continued to experiment with ideas for the light bulb until he found one that worked, even though it took over 1000 different materials. Facilitating that keep trying mentality, giving second chances, letting them learn from their mistakes. 'Taking Chances, Make Mistakes, Get Messy' - Mrs Frizzle

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  14. Mrs. Frizzle for sure! Learning from our mistakes helps build self confidence. Children learn its not about how many times you were wrong or the number of mistakes you made, but that with perseverance you did it. This equals success.

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  15. The fundamental purpose of school and I think should be the goal of every teacher is to differentiate! I love this sentence from the book, "A student is not going to learn if the work is too easy or too challenging. We need to be reaching out to our students on their level and challenging them from there. Making sure that we are reaching them on their level is going to help keep them engaged and focused on learning" YES YES YES:) !

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