Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Monthly Mindset Messages

SO, what are you doing with your summer? Without shame I will say I have been doing a lot of nothing and enjoying every lazy minute of it.  Isn't it just great to have time again? 

Along with just "chillin", as my kids would say, I am enjoying doing all the things I don't always get a chance to during the school year.  Like cooking, baking, gardening, hiking, exercising, blogging and how about just thinking. Wow, it has been so good to be able to have some relaxed time to just sit and to think, to reflect, to mull things over. 
I've been thinking about my past year. It was a tough one with many obstacles to overcome. But with challenge comes opportunity...a chance to grow, learn and develop new skills. 
There were many days that I felt so overwhelmed and began doubting my abilities. I see now that I needed these moments of weakness, they helped to propel me into action. With the help of some super supportive friends, I became determined not to throw in the towel and give up on myself and these kids. My difficulties forced me to seek out and try new techniques to deal with the needs of a large group of students who were struggling for a variety of reasons. So together, my students and I learned a lot. I tried many new teaching practices, strategies and interventions. Some worked for me and some didn't. So my next set of posts will be my flips and flops of my 2015-16 school year. 

Let's get started with a BIG flip.  Last summer I  read up on the research that has come out on "healthy mindset" thinking and decided to make a deliberate shift in the manner in which I praised and encouraged my students. Boy, oh boy, not only did my students need to hear and develop this thinking, but so did I. 
Here are the key concepts we worked to develop: 
1. Intelligence and skill can be developed
2. The brain is malleable
3. Doing challenging work is the best way to make the brain stronger and smarter

There is compelling evidence that suggests that promoting healthy mindset thinking in our classrooms will make a significant difference in the academic success of our students. 
Check out this article from Mind/Shift Blog:

There are more and more resources available to help you weave healthy 
mindset thinking into classroom conversation. 
This year I began using Classroom DoJo as a way to monitor classroom behavior. This was so fun and engaging for my third graders!
Along with a management piece, they have these fun little videos that are geared towards developing a positive approach to dealing with school and learning. 
Check it out...

These little videos are great to use a springboard for a classroom conversation about healthy mindset thinking. I will definitely use them again. 

Khan Academy has also teamed up to develop lesson plans on these topics.  

Last year I created a classroom display that highlighted some healthy mindset language. 
I found it so helpful to have these phrases out in the open where we could refer to them as we needed to.  We "trained our brains" to take a positive approach to challenging work. My struggling learners really benefitted from it. They soon didn't need me, they were reminding and encouraging each other. 

This can be found in my TPT store: 

A person's attitude plays such a huge role in how much progress they will make. I KNOW that to be true. I want my students to tackle challenging work fearlessly and develop a resilience that will help them achieve all their goals.  So next year I will take it a step further and introduce a Mindset Message each month.  We will post it and focus on developing that particular mindset for the month as we work and learn. 
I've created a packet of these posters which I will post on my calendar board. 

I've added this set to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. 
Click the link below to check it out 

I'd love to hear if you have made the shift to promote a healthy mindset program in your class. 
How are you doing it and how is it going? 
Please share!

1 comment:

  1. I'm adding elements of Growth Mindset to my classroom this year, this will be in addition to Whole Brain Teaching, 7 Habits of Happy Kids and Leadership Skills of the month...whew! I love your idea of a monthly mindset message, I think that's a great place to start!