Over the summer, I often find myself browsing Pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers, and other teaching blogs in search of new ideas for the upcoming school year. In the summer of 2015, I came across the idea of growth mindsets, inspired by Carol Dweck’s research. I decided to order her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and was instantly hooked on the idea of implementing her research on mindsets and the differences between growth and fixed mindsets into my sixth grade language arts classroom.
Lesson 1: I began by giving my students a survey about their established views about intelligence, learning, and mindsets. Although this piece was required due to my grad school work, I am interested to see the differences between these beginning surveys and the survey that I will have students take in a few months. I know many of my students will be able to see a drastic shift in their thinking due to this survey.
I also created a mindset bulletin board in the hallway with a lot of images and quotes that I stumbled across on Pinterest.
Lesson 3: A week later, I came up with another “Mindset Monday” activity. To begin, I asked students to reflect upon a time where they have “failed” at something transitioning into explaining that a failure is really just a first attempt in learning for something with a growth mindset. Then, I showed a video about a soccer team that lived on an island in the south of Thailand called “Koh Panyee.” Videos seem to really help my students understand growth mindset ideals because it is more concrete and this video lead to some great discussion about mindsets and perseverance.
My students LIKE doing mindset activities. As we’ve progressed through these lessons, I have seen a drastic change in thinking in many of my students. I like having discussions about mindsets and perseverance with my students because I feel like these skills are so important, not only in my language arts classroom, but in all aspects of life. I also find myself more excited on days that I get to teach mindset activities because my students tend to be more engaged and excited about learning. Teaching my students about mindsets also gives us a common language to talk about pushing ourselves as learners and giving our best effort, despite challenges or set-backs. In a few weeks, when it comes time for our big standardized test, I will definitely engage my students in a discussion about mindsets and how they can have a growth mindset on this test. Teaching about growth mindsets has absolutely impacted my classroom and my students as well as constantly pushing me to reflect on my mindset within the school day as well.
Teaching about mindsets is not just a topic for the beginning of the school year. It’s not too late to teach your students about mindsets even with the end of the school year approaching!