Having a Growth Mindset is so important in order to become successful in life. This concept is first introduced by Dr. Carol S Dweck in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” Dr. Dweck gave an amazing talk about Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset at Talks at Google. I linked her video below if you want to learn more about this interesting concept.
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The Growth Mindset | Carol Dweck | Talks at Google
Growth Mindset is not just for adults, it is also important for kids. Unfortunately, it is rare to see our students come into the classroom with a growth mindset.
The good news is that Growth Mindset can be taught, built and practiced in and outside of the classroom!
There are several ways that you can cultivate a growth mindset in the classroom.
Today, I will share with you 3 different activities that you can do in the classroom to introduce and practice Growth Mindset. Before I dive deeper into the activities that you can start using, let me say this ONE tiny, yet very important fact.
Just as Ritchhart stated in his book, Creating Cultures of Thinking, “(t)eachers often think of modeling as demonstrating, standing up before the class to show them a process or procedure that they want students to take on…But there is also the modeling of who we are as thinkers and learners, our implicit modeling.” You, the teacher, have to also demonstrate a growth mindset for your students.
Never forget that your students are also learning by watching your words and actions. It’s a little bit intimidating to think about that sometimes (at least for me). However, it’s important to realize that you don’t have to be perfect, if anything it’s probably better that you are not. Showing your students how you might also sometimes struggle with having a fixed mindset can be just as important.
So teachers, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable!
Alright, let’s talk about books and activities!
Activity #1: The Origami Penguin
I was introduced to this activity by one of my former colleagues, Duncan McNamara. I could not find a source to credit on the internet, so if you know who came up with this brilliant activity, please let me know!
This activity is called the Origami Penguin. It is like a pre-assessment to your students’ mindsets. You will TRULY see how your students handle challenging situations.
*****Disclaimer: If you have a student in your class that might not be able to handle the activity. Talk to their parents first and ask for their parents’ consent to try the activity. I had to do this twice and the parents were very supportive once I told them about the activity.
- 1 piece of paper for each student
- Extra paper for later
- First, give each student a piece of paper.
- Then ask them to fold you a penguin. That’s it. (Don’t give them any direction)
- If your students ask for directions, just ignore them. Trust the process. Let your students experience the challenge.
- Tip: I typically say, you have 1-2 minutes to fold me a penguin, then I project a timer.
- After a minute or 2, ask your students to stop.
- Now, time for a class discussion
- Ask your students
- Who felt frustrated?
- Who felt like they should give up? Who gave up?
- Who felt like they might give it a try?
- Tips: If you can, ask your class to sit in a circle or sit on the carpet for the discussion. It makes the students feel safer and more connected to each other.
- Ask your students
- Tell the class that you were testing their Mindset. Whether they have a more growth mindset or a fixed mindset.
- This is the time to explain to your students what a Growth Mindset is. You can just simply explain it, use PowerPoint, or create an anchor chart with your students.
- Tips: Once your students understand the difference between a growth and a fixed mindset. Ask them to rate themselves on a scale of 1-10 (1:fixed mindset and 10:growth mindset) Ask them to remember where they are and set a goal to get to 10 by the end of the year.
- Now, tell your students that they will actually fold a penguin but this time you will give them instructions and they can ask for help from their peers.
- These penguins will be displayed in the room for the rest of the school year, as a reminder for them to have a growth mindset.
- Growth Mindset Origami Penguin PowerPoint by Grove Vale Primary School
- How To Origami Penguin by OrigamiWay
The Penguin display is so powerful. There have been countless times where my students fell into a fixed mindset, and I would just point to the penguins then say “Remember? You can do it!” I would watch their faces change and they would start trying again. I still remember when I had to excuse myself, because I started to tear up after witnessing a student point to the penguins to encourage her friend to not give up.
Please do this activity with your students!!!!!
Activity #2: The Magical Yet
The power of “Yet” is another important idea to introduce to your students. Just changing the statement from “I cannot do this” to “I cannot do this yet,” is so powerful! It changes the mindset from facing something that feels impossible into something that will become possible one day. Angela DiTerlizzi’s book, “The Magical Yet,” is a perfect book to introduce this concept. The book makes an abstract idea of “Yet” into something that the students can easily visualize. In this activity, students will create their own Magical Yets, and reflect on some of the things that their Magical Yets can help them with.
- The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi
- Anchor Chart (Optional)
- Magical Yet Pennant or Paper
- Read “The Magical Yet” to your students
- Class Discussion:
- How can the Magical Yet help you with having a growth mindset?
- What are some of the things you cannot do yet, but your Magical Yet can help you with?
- Extension: Record students’ answers on an anchor chart to refer back to.
- Ask your students to imagine their Magical Yet and draw their Magical Yet on the pennant or a piece of paper. (You can grab the Magical Yet Pennant on my TPT Store for Free)
Activity #3: Growth Mindset Tic-Tac-Toe
Expand the practice of having a growth mindset at home by making it a challenge for your students! Make it a fun challenge to get your students to realize that a growth mindset doesn’t just exist in the classroom! In this activity, students will use a Tic-Tac-Toe board to complete different activities that relate to having a Growth Mindset. You can grab one from my TPT store or create your own in the classroom.
- Growth Mindset: Tic-Tac-Toe or create your own Tic-Tac-Toe board
- A platform for students to post their accompaniments
- You can create your own Growth Mindset Tic-Tac-Toe or you can grab a copy at my TPT store. If you want to create one with your students here’s how:
- Brainstorm with your students on different ways to show and practice having a Growth Mindset.
- Create a Tic-Tac-Toe or a Bingo board on a piece of paper
- Your students’ task is to complete 3 activities in a row, column, or across. They can also do it all!!!!
- Set a platform where your students can post their accomplishments such as on Google Classroom, ClassDojo portfolio, Padlet, Seesaw or bring a picture to the classroom.
- Be sure to celebrate your students that have accomplished the Tic-Tac-Toe!
There are so many different ways to introduce the Growth Mindset to your students. However, the best way is to demonstrate it daily in class. I also listed some read-aloud books that my students have loved in the past as well as Dr. Dweck’s TED Talk, which is great if you want to learn more about the differences between fixed mindset and growth mindset.
Happy Teaching! You can do this!
Leave a comment to let me know how you are planning on introducing Growth Mindset to your students or how you have helped your students cultivate a Growth Mindset. 🙂
Prima from LittleYellowStar
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Read Aloud Books Relating to Growth Mindset:
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
A book is about making mistakes and not giving up!
The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz
A fun twist on the famous story of The Three Little Pigs! A story about perseverance, hard work, and seeing things through!
The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
A book about how a mistake can lead to something grand and beautiful!
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