Mindsets in the Classroom WRAP UP!

Are you ready? Let's do this! Mary Cay Ricci makes it infinitely clear that although we obviously cannot control many variables in our students' lives, we certainly possess the ability to make a meaningful impact on them in the classroom to inspire a growth mindset! We can conspire to inspire our students by encouraging them to reach small goals everyday to boost their confidence and grow their growth mindset muscles!  As we wrap up our book study we would like to thank you so much for joining us, and we hope you have enjoyed this Mindsets In the Classroom adventure! Below is a free poster for you to print and post near your work area in your classroom to remind you to help your kids soar!
Conspire to inspire growth mindset!

•Value effort, persistence, and perseverence
•Praise effort over intelligence
•Small goals & wins boost confidence
•School improvement plans should include growth mindset goals/focus
•School staff meetings should include growth mindset talk/focus
•Parent-Teacher conferences should include education/talk of growth mindset
•Classrooms should be non-threatening, and fear free of embarrassment from mistakes or failures - in fact they should be celebrated for evidence of trying and working hard to learn & grow!


Thanks again for reading with us this summer!

Mindsets in the Classroom Chapter 10

I can't believe we are already on the final chapter of this amazing book.  This month has flown by!  I don't know about you but I have learned so much from this book study and have some really positive changes to make in my classroom this year. 
 This chapter was a short and sweet summary of everything we have learned in the previous 9 chapters about having a growth mindset in the classroom.  I think Mary Cay Ricci sums it up nicely when she says that building a maintaining a growth mindset classroom is well worth the time.  Absolutely!

Just in case you've missed any of the chapter reviews here are the quick links for each chapter.  There have been a lot of great resources shared so you will want to keep these posts handy while preparing for your new school year.  

I will leave you with this final thought from the chapter.  
"Educators teach students, not curriculum".  
As we move forward to a new year we can use our new found knowledge (and growth mindsets!) to create opportunities for our students. Thanks for stopping by!  

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.



Mindsets in the Classroom - Chapter 8

I know.  We have completely sold you on the idea of helping kids develop a growth mindset.  How can you resist helping kids believe in themselves, believe in hard work and perseverance, and believe in the power to achieve?  Isn't that our goal as teachers?

Here is an overview of the chapter.  You can click on the picture to download the PDF for easy reference.

Chapter 8 in the book Mindsets in the Classroom gives practical ways to integrate the development of a growth mindset in your classroom.  But, with all of the demands and commitments of a normal school day, where can we find time?  Well, be creative!  Mary Cay recommends integrating your growth mindset lessons into your day.  Are you working on non-fiction comprehension?  Why not read about neuroscience (which would obviously have to be modified for the elementary classroom)!  Are you starting the year with a science unit on famous scientists?  Add a mini unit on neuroscience.  I bet those scientists had a growth mindset.

Ricci walks you through the entire process.  She has it all planned out for you, from pre-assessment to sample learning tasks, to introducing students to growth mindset terminology.  I have chosen three of my favorite things from the chapter, and have combined them into a big, chapter 8 freebie.  Who doesn't love a freebie?



I have included the pre-assessment worksheet, one of the learning tasks, and made printable posters of eight quotes that Ricci included at the end of the chapter.  Here are a few of my favorites.





You can click on any of the pictures shown above to download your freebies.

What were your thoughts on the chapter?  Link up below or leave a comment.  Thanks for visiting us!



Mindsets in the Classroom - Chapter 7


Welcome to our study of Mary Cay Ricci's book, Mindsets in the Classroom.  If you are new here, you might want to peek back at our introduction - ***CLICK HERE*** - and then work your way through each chapter post (which we publish on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays in June).

Whether you've been with us from the start - or if today you are visiting for the first time - thank you so much for joining us!  We'd love to have you comment here with your thoughts, or - even better! - write about this chapter on your own blog and link up with us at the bottom of this post so that we can come visit YOU!



Today we focus on Chapter 7, in which the author addresses the question, "Can gifted education and a growth mindset belief coexist?"  Ricci writes that identifying - or labeling - a student as GT may do more harm than good unless the teacher's goal (and that of the school and district) "is to develop an instructional philosophy that addresses the needs of our most advanced learners while at the same time allowing access to instruction to all learners" (page 95).

This chapter is of greatest interest to me, because my background is in Gifted education.  I started as a pullout program teacher in the early 1990s, and although I taught in a variety of situations over the decades, I returned to the Gifted classroom and finished out my last few years teaching self-contained Third Grade until retiring.  I read the chapter from that perspective, and I will be interested in seeing what other teachers' thoughts are from their own unique and varying experiences.

To tell you the truth, I entered the chapter with the prejudice that the author was going to say we do not need Gifted education.  But as I read and re-read her opinions, examined the ample research and anecdotal evidence she presented, and applied it all to my own experience, I realized that Ricci is actually presenting a philosophy of Gifted education that will benefit all students - including the Gifted kids.

Here is an overview of my take-aways from this chapter.  You can click on the image to download a pdf version for easy reference:


Like most of us, I like to reflect on what I'm reading in professional development by applying it to my own practice.  Here are some of my own thoughts and experiences as they relate to what Ricci writes about:


Identification

It's so important that we never inadvertently exclude any student from maximizing his or her potential!  In Gifted education, careful thought must be given to how we identify students.  Do the instruments and methods we use to identify Gifted students take into account cultural backgrounds?  How about the possibility of dyslexia, ADHD, or communication impairments - or other ways that might interfere with how the student performs on a traditional assessment?

I've always worked in districts where the CoGAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) was the primary instrument used to identify children.  But thankfully, we have always included additional measures to accommodate students who may not use English as the primary language at home, or who may have other hurdles that might obscure talents and strengths on traditional assessments.  Outside testing results are also accepted on a list of approved instruments, expanding possibilities for students who may not typically perform optimally in the school setting.

An area for improvement would be blanket evaluation of all students.  I've always worried that there are students who are overlooked because a parent or teacher did not recommend him/her for evaluation.

Multiple Intelligences

Traditionally the areas looked at for Gifted identification are those most closely resembling what is considered academic in the classroom:  verbal, quantitative, and (less easily defined by many) non-verbal.

I was blessed with the opportunity to work in a charter school years ago that based their charter on Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences.  The best part of this experience was the awesome training I received, including conferences with leaders in the field.  And the most lasting impact this had on my practice was to honor each child for his/her unique strengths - indeed, gifts.

I love this quotation, most often attributed to Albert Einstein (for the record, the origin of this proverb is not fully known):


The Takeaway

It should NOT be about identifying Gifted kids just so that we can pull them out of the crowd.
It should be ALL ABOUT honoring what exists inherently - uniquely - in every child that can be nurtured and developed.
It is about believing that every child has some special spark that will eventually impact the world in a positive way, and that our role as educators is to help the child discover and nurture that spark.



Ultimately, I found that my initial prejudice was unfounded.

Ricci's thoughts on how Gifted education ideally inspires, nurtures, and develops the very best in ALL learners through a growth mindset provided me with a lot of food for thought... and left me with the happy validation that many of us are indeed practicing this in our classrooms.

What were your thoughts on this chapter?

Please share in the comments below, or link up with us to share your blog post!



Mindsets in the Classroom - Chapter 6

Chapter 6 is all about sharing information about growth mindsets with parents.  As we all know, building those positive relationships is so important in the classroom.  Having such a positive relationship will help make it easier to make the change to growth mindsets.  (I know it will for me!)


I love this quote by Mary Cay Ricci, "If any adult in a child's life communicates low expectations either verbally or nonverbally, then achievement can suffer".  It is essential to get everyone on board in order to provide each child with the most opportunities for success.  

I feel like the strategies outlined in this chapter are ones parents and teachers alike can all use.  So regardless of whether it was dedicated to parents, I found it extremely valuable for me!  One section of the chapter was all about building resilience.  Mary Cay Ricci says, "A central message to communicate with parents is the importance of encouraging resilience in their children".  I am SO guilty of this with my students.  I have this need to help and coddle students from their failures.  But as we learned in Chapter 5, failure is necessary for success. 

One of the strategies for building resilience is to use growth mindset praise.  Mary Cay Ricci states, "Always praise a child's willingness to try, effort, patience, and practice.  Do not attribute success to "being smart" or "being the best" but to hard work and perseverance".  I am guilty again of not using growth mindset praise!  Don't get me wrong, I praise ALL THE TIME, but rarely is it in a growth mindset way.  This is definitely an area I will be improving this coming school  year.  To me, the best way to teach parents how to apply growth mindsets to their children is by modelling.  It would be so powerful to them (and our students) if we showed them exactly what we mean by using growth mindset praise.  I made these little notes to send home with children frequently modelling growth mindset praise.  


Just as we teachers need to be educated, parents need to be specifically educated about neural connections so that they can be aware of the importance of practice and persistence.  Ricci suggests having parents participate in some of the student learning experiences which we will learn more about soon in Chapter 8.  Along with participating in these experiences, post information about growth mindsets on the school website, social network sites, newsletters, or any other form of communication.  The more we can teach and model for parents, the better.  

Here's a sample note you may want to send home at the beginning of the year.  It explains a little bit about growth mindsets and giving appropriate praise.  All of this information came from the book.  


Students also play an important role in teaching their parents about how their brain works.  Mary Cay Ricci references this clip from The Pursuit of Happyness.   


I absolute loved it!  I love how you can tell who has a fixed mindset and who has a growth mindset.  Their body language says it all!  

I especially loved this quote from the film. 


I thought it would be an inspiring mantra for you class to learn, memorize, and apply in their situations.  It also got me thinking it would be so powerful for your class to develop their own mantra in relation to growth mindsets.  Then, they can teach it to their parents and help bring some of those concepts into the home.  Just as Ricci said, "Children may, in fact, be the catalysts for helping their parents truly understand the malleability of the mind".  

Grab all the freebies here!



Mindsets in the Classroom - Chapter 5


 As a fourth grader I remember my teacher putting me down for not solving long division math problems the same way as she explained. She put me down because I was thinking in a different way.  I had "failed" to solve the math concept correctly. I lost all confidence in myself, my math thinking, and my love of learning was lost. From that point on I struggled in math. It wasn't because I wasn't smart, it was because I was scared of making mistakes. 

I'm so happy I was able to read and reflect on chapter 5 of Mindsets in the Classroom. It has helped me reflect on my own teaching. I ask myself, "In my classroom, is failure a reward?" I love how Mary Cay Ricci explains, "Failure can be a reward, for it is through failure that we can learn the most."  Unlike my 4th grade teacher, I hope all teachers can remember this simple yet important skill.


Later in the chapter Mary Cay Ricci states, "The way we respond to failure depends on our mindset. When we believe intelligence is malleable, then we realize when we make a mistake - when we fail - we need to approach the task differently and/or put more effort into it." This is important for teachers to foster the love of learning in all students no matter their academic level and let them learn from their mistakes or failures because all students will have them. 

Our world would be a different place if many important people didn't learn from their failures and keep trying. I wonder what it would be like if Steve Jobs quit after failure? Walt Disney was faced with many obstacles but he kept moving forward because like he said, "Around here, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things because we're curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down paths." 

We must teach students how to respond to failure. Teachers must create a classroom environment that welcomes failures. We as educators should teach students that failure is celebrated. Because it's through failure that we become successful. Success doesn't come easily and we must fail first. 

Motivation should be given as intrinsic rewards (personal satisfaction). Extrinsic rewards such as prizes, money, and certificates have many flaws. These rewards can extinguish student creativity and foster short-term thinking. Many students stop once they reach a goal or prize. I think of the example of reading in my classroom. Once a child has read their goal for the quarter, they often times think they don't have to read anymore. So how can you use motivation correctly in your classroom to foster life long learning and success? 




I'd like you to take a moment to reflect on your own teaching. How will you celebrate failure this next school year? How are you going to keep your students engaged and excited about learning and trying new things? 

Thanks for following along with our book study this month. I know I am learning so much from this idea of Mindsets in the Classroom. I can't wait to get back into my 2nd grade classroom and give it a try or perfect what I'm doing already!

-Ashlyn from The Creative Classroom

Mindsets and Critical Thinking

Good morning!!  I hope that you have been enjoying our Mindsets in the Classroom study as much as we have!  It has been great to see you linking up with us too!  Don't forget you can go back and grab the frame HERE so you can link up with us!!  It's never too late to jump into this awesome book!!

With that, we are going to jump into chapter 4 today!!



Chapter 4 is all about critical thinking and giving our students the opportunity to think critically.  This doesn't mean in just one area once a day.  It means multiple times a day, and in ways that are challenging to your students.



Critical thinking is a process that we have to continue to work on and develop.  If we do not practice thinking critically then we will set expectations that are too low of ourselves and our students.  Mary explained how cooking is not a skill, but a PROCESS that requires many, many different skills.  Without these different skills you would not be able to cook.  If you could not measure then you would not be able to correctly make a cake.

Thinking critically is also a process where we have to practice many different skills.  We have to understand what is being asked, we have to interpret information that is given to us,  we have to reason, solve problems and make decisions.


We need to make sure that we provide our students with plenty of opportunities to use their critical thinking process!

When students are able to use their own reasoning skills, then they are able to figure things out and talk about why they arrived at a certain answer.  When we continuously give them the answer, or tell them there is only one way to do things, then we have a fixed mindset.  By allowing students to try different ways, we are showing them that it is okay to think outside the book, and sharing the ideas that we are allowing them to have a growth mindset.





Don't forget to add your link up if you would like to join us!!  We are almost half way done!!  Can you believe it!?!


Mindset Chapter 3, What is a Differentiated, Responsive Classroom?

Mindsets in the Classroom Chapter 3
Differentiated Responsive classroom,  how to have a classroom that is responsive to the different needs of your students,

Chapter 3 begins with a wonderful quote from a first grade student--- "My brain is getting smarter and smarter each day." I think this is what being a teacher is all about, knowing our students are positive and confident that their learning is growing day by day.

In this chapter, Mary Cay Ricci, discusses the importance of having a differentiated, responsive classroom. In this type of classroom teachers use front-end differentiation in order to be responsive to the needs of the students in the classroom. I'll go over a few of the highlights, but you really need to read the chapter yourself to see how this would have a positive impact on your teaching.

"Differentiation:  the way a teacher responds to a student's needs so that each student is challenged at the appropriate level. "Mary Cay Ricci



Steps to having a differentiated, responsive classroom.
1.  Preview and Preasess:  You should find out what students already know about the content before instructional planning begins. That's why this is called front-end differentiation.  Most differentiation comes after instruction and ends up being a catch-up time.  With a good preassessment you can be prepared to meet the needs of all your students from day one.  One interesting idea presented in this chapter is letting students preview the content before the preassessment.  Mary Cay Ricci thinks you'll get a truer picture of what students know if they are allowed a short preview of the content.

2.  Curriculum Compacting:  After the preassessment you'll know what skills your students have mastered and what they still need to learn.  So it makes sense to adjust your unit and take out lessons that aren't needed by your students.  Thus the title- Curriculum Compacting.  This makes so much sense!  Don't spend time teaching skills that your students have already mastered.

3.  Flexible Grouping:  Small grouping should be taking place in all subject areas, not just reading. Every classroom has a large range of students.  Working with small groups gives students the opportunity to be challenged at an appropriate level.  One of the major drawbacks of small groups is classroom management.

4.  Management:  Small groups can be managed if the teacher sets clear expectations.  Anchor activities are ongoing activities the students work on independently and are key to managing students while the teacher works with small groups.

5.  Acceleration and Enrichment:  Both of these are equally important. Enrichment is going deeper and acceleration is going forward.  Having enrichment and accelerated activities gives every student the chance to learn every day.

6.  Formative Assessment:  Checking for understanding.  This is essential in a differentiated, responsive classroom.  Formative assessments should be used routinely across all content areas.  It can also be a reflective tool for the teacher, Do the students get it? What do I need to teach next?  How will I group my students for reteaching, enrichment and acceleration?   I've put together a few quick and easy formative assessments you can use in your classroom. Click on the picture to download the file.
Quick Formative Assessments--Mindsets for the Classroom

7.  Summative Assessment:  Assessing understanding and mastery of the content at the end of the unit.  The assessment must match the learning that has taken place.  Grades should be based on how well the student demonstrates mastery of the content that was presented to them.

This chapter also includes a Teacher Checklist for Planning Differentiated, Responsive Instruction.  It will make your instructional planning so much easier!  

 Mindsets in the Classroom, Chapter 3 summary

Thank you for taking the time to read this discussion about Chapter 3 of Mindsets in the Classroom.  You can download my summary by clicking on the picture.    (it's also included in the Formative Assessment Freebie download seen above.)

We'd love to hear what you think about Chapter 3.  You can download this blank PowerPoint frame, write about it on your blog and then link up with us. At the end of the books study we'll be choosing one of the link-up blog writers to receive a special gift card! 


 Mindsets for the Classroom blank frame-   Hello Sunshine Blog










Mindsets in the Classroom Ch. 2: Building a Growth Mindset School Culture

Our Summer book study with Mindsets in the Classroom has kicked off with a bang! We have already reached Chapter 2 and we are so thrilled to have all of you linking up with us to share your thoughts. We hope you will continue to join us all month long!

Let's dive in, shall we?

Chapter 2 immediately gives us some practical ideas for implementing a growth mindset culture in our schools.


Mary Cay Ricci writes, "The first step along the path to building a growth mindset culture is to begin to build a school culture that values intellectual growth with a staff who has internalized the belief that intelligence can be cultivated."

How can we accomplish this? By implementing 7 steps that will help lead teachers, staff, students, and parents to have a growth mindset:

1. Professional Development for All School Personnel
Before beginning growth mindset professional development, it is first important to determine what belief systems are held by staff at the present time. This will help gauge what they know and believe to be true about growth and fixed mindsets before they are taught new information about each one. Interestingly enough, when the author surveyed the staff she was visiting, the majority of less-experienced teachers tended to have a growth mindset while experienced teachers tended to have a fixed mindset. Kind of telling on how a teacher's mindset tends to change so drastically after continuing in the teaching profession for a few years. 

Surveying your staff can be a quick and easy thing: If you're interested in getting this kind of discussion started at your school, I've created a freebie for you that you can use with your staff when introducing a growth mindset culture. Just click on the picture below to download!

 photo Mindset Ch 2 Free Worksheet_zps7hr5wpfz.png

2. Educate staff about malleability of the brain.
Many people believe that intelligence is a permanent attribute that we are born with and it can be very shocking to find out the opposite. One discussion you could have with your staff is to pose the question, "If you were given instruction, time, and had motivation, could you improve at a given skill?" This can get everyone talking and explain the concept of brain malleability on a relatable level.

You can also introduce teachers to the idea of growth mindset by talking about how one's emotions can be changed based on one's thinking, attitude, and behaviors.

Studies have shown that happiness and empathy can be practiced and developed!

Ricci gives an example of this by writing about a new curriculum called MindUP, which was developed by The Hawn Foundation and Scholastic in 2011. They believe we can train our brain to have an optimistic perspective. My Kindle version of the book had a link to the MindUP page where they had this fascinating video on the MindUP program according to teachers. Having their students participate in things like peaceful breathing exercises and brain breaks seemed to help their students remain calm, even in stressful situations like testing. Check it out here:


3. Educate staff about praise for students.
Educators must be more aware of the way we praise students! Praise them for their hard work and effort - not just about how smart they are. Kiddos just want to be noticed and acknowledged!

4. Educate teachers about the brain.
Many people have not been educated about how the brain works and how it relates to our learning. Ricci sums it up in a simple way for you to teach it to your staff: "Neurons make new connections when you learn something new. These connections become stronger with practice and effort."

In order to strengthen these neural connections, teachers need to consistently make connections to prior knowledge and experiences. I've found that when I connect my students' prior knowledge while introducing a new concept, it is easier for them to stay engaged and pay attention when you are talking about something that has related to their lives in the past.

I love the imagery used when describing a new neural pathway: it's like walking through a new, unexplored forest for the first time. The more you use it, the clearer the path becomes. It's such a great visual for what happens when students begin to have a deeper understanding of the concepts taught!

What are some ways that you like to connect prior knowledge and experiences with your students? We'd love to hear your ideas and comments below!

5. Teach students about the brain.
Students must understand that intelligence is constantly changing based on effort, persistence, and motivation.

This part was interesting to me. I never would have thought about teaching the kids about the brain in order to achieve a growth mindset. We always think of changing mindsets within ourselves, but to get your whole school on the same path, it's a great idea to teach our students WHY. To do this, the author suggests that lessons should be designed to teach kids about the brain's broader involvement with their five senses, physical activity, and everyday actions. This is so perfect to get kids moving, thinking, and engaged in the classroom. Think about how websites like GoNoodle have revolutionized our classrooms by promoting brain breaks and movement. You could introduce the concept of how intelligence can be changed by promoting the use of their five senses and physical activity and then do a GoNoodle brain break with your kiddos like "Brainercise with Mr. Catman" as a fun example! (And if you've never seen it, it's a man with a giant cat mask in a classroom. Challenging students to do difficult brain exercises. And it is amazing. Haha.) Look for this icon when you head to GoNoodle!


6. Educate Parents
We all know that a huge key to increasing school culture is parent involvement and buy-in. However, it's often an aspect that can be overlooked since parents aren't at school the entire time like teachers and students are. Involving parents in a growth mindset discussion can help them view their children in a different light when it comes to intelligence or in how they speak to their kids.

7. Monitor, Evaluate, and Review School Protocols
Once your school has spent a good amount of time and training towards building a growth mindset, you can begin to evaluate how well your school and staff are doing. One idea you can implement is to establish "Look-fors"; student/teacher behavior when you walk through any room in the building. PLC's are also a great way to help teachers think and reflect on their mindsets with their individual teams and grade levels. You can give them time to discuss how they think they have changed or stayed the same in their mindset thinking throughout the year and how it has helped or hindered them.

The last story sort of saddened me because it is something we see all the time in schools and I'm sure we all have been guilty of this type of thinking at one time or another. A student wanted to be placed in an honors level English course to increase her love of literature and the department chair denied her request without even meeting the student simply based on the child's test scores. When we talk to parents about their student when they do not meet certain goals or criteria, it's important to try and phrase things in a way that doesn't say "we don't think your child is smart enough". If a student is showing self-motivation and a desire to want to do something, that goes a long way in determining whether or not they might be successful at something, regardless of previous test scores. We as teachers never want to make our students think that they are not smart enough. How devastating to a child! Having a growth mindset helps with this positive thinking and takes into account student motivation. Now, it doesn't mean that every parent or student is going to get what they want in these situations, but at least giving them a fair shot is all anyone can ask.

So what's the take away?
If this is something you find yourself strongly believing in, begin talking with your administrators and instructional coaches about planning professional development time to teach about growth mindset to build school culture. Use the free planning pages to get things started!

What were the things that stood out to you from Chapter 2? Is this something you are inspired to do at your school? 


Mindsets in the Classroom

What Are They, and How Do They Affect the Classroom?

Welcome to our summer book study!
We really hope that you will join in and link up with us as we share our take on this great professional resource!

Let's get started!

Chapter 1 is all about what mindsets are and how they make an impact in the classroom.  I have often thought about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in the classroom, but this books took me to a different level describing the two different mindsets, growth and fixed.

The belief system that asserts that intelligence is malleable and can be developed is called  growth mindset.  Interestingly, 100% of kindergartners entering school have a growth mindset.  This number drops significantly over a student's first few years, with the notable drop from 82% to 58%, between second and third grade!  Kids come to school believing that they can and will learn and they begin soaking up everything that we expose them to.  But then what happens?

Students with a growth mindset believe that they can learn just about anything.  Even though challenging, with effort and perseverance they can succeed.  The focus of this mindset is on learning, not looking smart.

However, students with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is something that you are born with and that the level of intelligence cannot be changed.  For students who struggle or don't think that they are smart, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  They often give up and do not put forth much effort.  For those who view themselves as "smart," they can become focused on "looking smart" at all costs and avoid taking risks where they feel they may not succeed.  These are the kiddos who seem to coast through school without putting forth much effort, but are praised for their good grades.  They are high achievers who blame outside influences when they "fail" at a task.


A child's mindset directly affects how he or she faces academic challenges.

What does this mean in the classroom?

According to Malcom Gladwell, "It turns out that summer vacation is a massive disadvantage for poorer kids.  Richer kids get a lot of help over the summer.  Their homes are filled with books and things that advance their knowledge; they go to camp and have all these other activities.  But a poorer family can't do that.  To improve that, we as a society would have to provide it in the first place.  During the school year, poor kids actually outlearn richer kids.  Then they stall over the summer."

Our society has become one that values pace.  The faster the better.  But we need to really think about the fact that it is not about how fast students master learning.  It's about the persistence and effort they put forth.  Personally, I think that is what the common core standards are aiming for; depth and perseverance rather than rote and speed.

The good news?  Mindset can be shifted!  Recent brain research negates the notion that intelligence is fixed from birth.  Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to adapt and "rewire" itself throughout our entire lives.

We as educators, need to begin as early as possible to instill a growth mindset in our students so that they will continue to believe that the can and will succeed.  Talk to your students about brain research and teach them that their intelligence is not predetermined.  Teach them that their effort and persistence are what will enable them to succeed.  Believe in them.  Encourage them.  And most importantly, make sure that you embrace a growth mindset in your classroom.

  

Click on the image below to download a PDF version of the chapter 1 summary. (I also included the Perseverance and Keep Going signs.)  Then share you views about the book on your blog and link up with us.



Book Study: Mindsets in the Classroom


Book Study Photo
Are you ready for some fun online professional development with the Hello Sunshine teachers?  Join us as we read Mindsets in the Classroom and learn together how we can move our students, staff and communities to a growth mindset. 
mindset book
Grab a copy of the book or download the Kindle version and join us!  Starting June 4th we will be hosting a linky party every Thursday, Sunday and Tuesday for the month of June.  Use the frame at the end of this post to link up and you will be automatically entered in a drawing to win a gift card!
Here is the book study order so you can plan accordingly:
Chapter 1 – June 4
Chapter 2 – June 7
Chapter 3 – June 9
Chapter 4 – June 11
Chapter 5 – June 14
Chapter 6 – June 16
Chapter 7 – June 18
Chapter 8 – June 21
Chapter 9 – June 23
Chapter 10 – June 25
Wrap Up – June 28
We are so excited to go through this study with all of you and share ideas for transforming our classrooms and schools!
Use this framework to link up with us for each chapter. 
Mindset Frame
See you June 4th for Chapter 1 !