Have you ever been beyond excited about a new strategy you wanted to teach your students?
Last year, I bought and borrowed everything I could find about applying a growth mindset in the classroom. I devoured two books on the subject. But I was disappointed to find that they were narrative-heavy and resource-light. My 250 pages of reading left me with maybe 4 pages that would be truly useful in training my kids towards a growth mindset.
You don’t have to do that though. All that reading taught me enough to create this simple 4-step formula. Follow it and use these resource links, and you’ll be on your way.
Step 1. CHALLENGE. Show a video about famous failures. Engage the kids in a discussion about their own failures, either with partners or as a whole. Ask questions such as, “What did you learn from your failure? What would you aspire to do if you weren’t afraid of failing? When have you given up too easily?”
Step 2. MOTIVATE. Students need to read this kid-friendly research about a growth mindset. Telling children they can grow their brains isn’t enough. Use the article in small group or in centers. Provide a read aloud or choral read to those who need the extra support.
Step 3. IMAGINE. Ask higher order thinking questions to accompany the text. Why do you think? How can make your brain grow? What are some things you can do this week that will grow your brain?
Step 4. REINFORCE. This step is likely the most challenging in that it requires consistency. You must commit to it. Every. Single. Day. There are tons of wonderful resources to help you reinforce a growth mindset: posters & PowerPoint lessons & centers. One of my favorites of these is the “Yet” poster, which uses a subtle change in language to reinforce the growth mindset: “I don’t know. . .yet.” Look through these similar posters to find one you connect with.
Teaching a growth mindset in your classroom is easy–changing fixed mindset habits requires a growth mindset on your part. You’ll need dedication and consistency, but I know you can achieve it.