Mindsets in the Classroom: Chapter 2

Mindsets in the Classroom by Mary Cay Ricci

Chapter 2: What are some ways to begin building a GROWTH MINDSET school culture?


So we loved what we read in the first chapter and I know many of you are nodding your heads as you read and saying, "Yes, this makes so much sense!".  Well how do we transfer that to an entire campus and make it part of our school culture.  Easier said than done right? This chapter listed the steps needed to really incorporate a growth mindset among staff, parents, and students.  Let's dig in! 

I've listed the 7 steps outlined in the chapter in my chapter highlights but I just want to talk about a few here (because I could go on all day!)  Educating the staff is absolutely the first step that needs to take place.  I loved the pre-assessment that was discussed at the beginning of the chapter.  Imagine after reading this book and going through the steps to shift your thinking what an eye opener it would be to read this pre-assessment at the end of the year.  This could be a really powerful tool in solidifying the staff's commitment to a growth mindset. 

Our superintendent used Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck as a focus point for our staff this year.  We discussed effort, shared stories of effort each week (via email Monday morning) and were encouraged to praise effort in the classroom.  It really made a difference for me!  I found myself saying things like, 
"Wow, you worked really hard on that!  I'm so proud of your hard work."  
Instead of the go to, 
"Good job....You're so smart.....I'm proud of you."  
I focused more on the effort my children were putting in instead of just the end result.  It made me look at my high achievers differently too.  Instead of glancing through their page, seeing all the correct answers, and moving on I found ways to make sure they were furthering their thinking too.  I questioned them more intently on getting them to explain their thinking, put more effort into their work, and take pride in finishing something that was difficult at first. 

The last couple weeks of school I heard this exchange at one of my tables and I just can not tell you how it made my Kindergarten teacher heart sing!

Student A:  "This is really hard."
Student B: "If you keep trying it will get easier."
Student C:  "Yeah, you just have to put in more effort and then you can do it."

Do you think that kiddo gave up?  No way, not with peer pressure like that!  

Pressing forward I think I will be putting more focus this year on educating the students and parents about the growth mindset ideal.  I can especially focus on this during back to school conferences (I meet with parents one on one before school starts).  I'm going to look through the MindUp resources to see what I can share with parents during this time.  
Also, educating students about the brain!  I'm going to look into developing some activities about the brain into our 5 senses unit. 

Want a fabulous freebie?  Caitlin from The Kinder Garden was the guest host at Hello Sunshine teachers today for chapter 2 and she posted some awesome professional development freebies.  You can click HERE to go see them, and to link up too!

Here are the links we have so far.  Enjoy reading!