Back to school can be a difficult time for students. Well, much of the year has difficult times. We often need to teach and re-teach behavior expectations. We seek to motivate and encourage them through challenges and failures. We seek to ensure social and emotional learning for students. If we are successful educating the whole student, we will be able to shape their mindset. We will help them to view themselves as learners, doers, and hard workers.
Mindset is so critical to student success. We understand that brains and talent don’t bring success. It is what we do with our knowledge and talent that matters. It is our mindset that shapes what we do. How we think about our experiences, our opportunities, and our failures defines the actions we take. A fixed mindset sees consequences as fate. A fixed mindset sees opportunities as destiny. A fixed mindset sees failure as proof of inferiority. A growth mindset is so different!
A growth mindset is the habit of thinking, “I can learn.” Failure is an inevitable part of life. It is viewed as the target for growth. It is not the proof of destiny. Learning is the key that allows me to overcome future failure.
Students who are taught these messages, end up making better grades. They need less praise and attention because they realize their effort determines their outcome. A growth mindset instills the belief that basic ability can improve through hard work and determination. It is an empowering mindset that actually produces real results.
To help with teaching a growth mindset to students, we have developed a simple product. It includes a video, and kids love the music! It also has a slideshow to facilitate thinking and discussion about the growth mindset. There are 11 writing prompts, a half dozen posters, and a printable activity. Take a look at this product for yourself to see why over 2000 teachers have already downloaded it.
Teaching Growth Mindset with Pictures
The pictures in the video are engaging for students. You can use the video to present the idea initially. It can become a springboard to get students jumping into their thoughts about themselves. In a flipped classroom, the video is a great preview activity.It is only 1 minute and 30 seconds. Students can respond to it on a class blog or in Google classroom. Or just have them write a brief summary of what the video made them think about themselves.
The next day in class the teacher can lead a discussion about mindset. The slideshow provides the same stimulating visuals as the video. This is helpful for students because it creates a visual link to the concepts. The discussion shouldn’t be a lecture format. It should be peer or group based discussion about the content in the slideshow. Students will really enjoy the pictures and the ideas. Even more, they enjoy expressing their thoughts about themselves and their minds. By the time the class gets to the third slide, they will be thoroughly engaged in the concepts of opportunity, determination, and growth.
How awesome is it when students view school as a place for learning! Nothing kills student motivation quicker than feeling like they can not. When we teach growth mindset to students, we are opening the hope, and reality, that our minds are pliable. We can. With effort, dedication, and hard work, we can learn and grow.
In addition to teaching with visuals and conversation, we can use writing prompts. We provide a dozen pages of writing prompts. They aren’t the traditional testing prompts we are accustomed to. The prompts are photos from the slideshow. This allows the freedom for students to respond with the thoughts they have…with their own voice. Of course, the open nature of the prompts allows teachers to add to the prompt with more teacher direction if needed.
Some of the topics on the prompts include different feelings and strategies. Students will be able to write about the feeling of frustration and of sadness. There are six strategies for dealing with frustration. Students can write about these strategies in an informational way, or they can choose to narrate a time when they felt frustrated. The goal is to get students thinking about productive ways to deal with unproductive emotions.
The writing prompts also have students think about change. The statement on one of the pictures is, “Things change. You can change.” This is an open invitation for students to write about ways they have changed or changes they have experienced. Of course, this prompt also lends itself well to predicting changes for the school year.
The great thing about the writing prompts are that students can choose from them to best meet their learning needs. Since there are so many of them, they can also be assigned over the course of two weeks.
If you are interested in teaching growth mindset to your students, learn more here.