Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

It’s crazy to believe that April is already half way over…??? Ummmmm, how did that happen? With testing and crazy weather patterns, I once again feel like the amount of actual teaching I’ve done is down to a minimum. (In case you didn’t hear, the midwest got yet another storm this past week, so Thursday school was cancelled again because of “blizzard like conditions.”) I think my students are starting to hit that spring slide because it’s getting harder and harder to motivate them everyday.

Because of that, I wanted to look into ways to keep them motivated and positive through the end of the year. I also am having many students who are becoming very emotional lately and I wanted to continue to remind them how to be positive and believe in themselves even if something doesn’t go as planned. I did a quick amazon search for growth mindset books and found The Growth Mindset Playbook; A Teacher’s Guide to Promoting Student Success, by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley.

Screen Shot 2019-04-13 at 3.12.33 PM

I’m only a few chapters in right now but I wanted to reflect on some of the concepts I’ve come across already that I’ve found to be quite interesting.

The book begins by explaining the difference between growth and fixed mindset. Simply put, growth mindset individuals always see a way and are open to failure because they can learn from it, whereas fixed mindset individuals believe if they fail they fail and are completely defeated. I’ve tried all year to create growth mindset students but some are still struggling with effort because they don’t believe in themselves.

To help teach what growth mindset thinkers believe, the authors included a mini lesson to do as a whole class. The teacher writes out a series of scenarios on notecards. The scenarios range between how a fixed mindset person would react to a situation and how a growth mindset person would react to a situation. They work as a team to sort each notecard into a fixed or growth mindset category. The scenarios in this book are middle/high school age situations so before I try this out, I have to think of situations an 8 year old could relate to. I want to try this once our testing if over to hopefully spark some interest and motivation for the last month of school.

The second main idea I found interesting so far in this book is the concept that even if a teacher teaches growth mindset, their students might not be successful in grasping the concept. The authors found that a teacher can talk about having a growth mindset until they’re blue in the face but it won’t make a difference unless they model having a growth mindset themselves for their students. I think this was a pretty powerful idea. It shows how much of an impact a teacher has on their students. You can teach your students to believe in anything but if you don’t believe in it yourself, they’re never going to catch on.

I think I model this pretty well for my kiddos. Everyday we talk about the importance of effort and how we shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes. I stress that I don’t care if someone got 100% on a test or 50% on a test as long as they put in effort and strive to learn from their errors the next time around. I talk a lot about my mistakes and how I learn from them to do and be better at my job. I’m also a HUGE Harry Potter fan and have instilled that love with my class. I’ve shared with them the story of J.K. Rowling and how she got her start. I’ve told them about how she was rejected by 12 different companies before someone told her they would publish her story. This has always been a huge motivator for me and I love to share it with my students because the story is so inspirational.

I have not gotten very far into the book but I plan to continue reading to learn more about having a growth mindset and how to use that information to help my students and to help our class have a great end of the year. As I keep reading, I hope to continue to share little tips and tricks that I learn to help any of you who are also having a hard time getting your students to believe in themselves.

Day 2 – Living My Childhood Dream

Today was amazing and there were so many things I can’t even begin to explain what all happened.

We started the day off with a morning tour that covered most of London! Our tour guide was amazing and our guide was very entertaining (not like those tour guides that think they know everything and you no nothing)! We got the whole history run down of the city and stopped at some major places. We went to the Tower of London, walked over the Millennium Bridge, into the 2nd largest Cathedral in the world (St. Paul’s Cathedral), and saw many many more monumental buildings and statues. The tour ended with going to Buckingham Palace and watching the change of the guards. It was incredible.

We then got to have the afternoon to ourselves. We walked around central London for awhile and then went to a family Indian restaurant for lunch. I’m not a big spicy food person but I figured I’m in a new country so why not try something new? I wasn’t too bad!

I then hopped on the underground and headed to King’s Cross Station. If anyone knows why that is such a major place, we would be best friends. I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan and going to Platform 9 and 3/4 has been like a dream of mine! Of course I had to get in line to get my picture taken on the platform, I would hate myself if I didn’t. Ahhhhh it was so fun!! Haha I also went in to the Platform 9 and 3/4 store they have there and bought a Hermione wand. 😂🙈 I know I’m a child. Being there was amazing!!

For dinner, a friend on my trip and I went to this place called Duck and Waffle Local. It’s just as it sounds. It’s a bar/restaurant that specializes in duck and waffles. I ordered some mac and cheese that had a duck egg yolk on top. It was delicious and so different! For dessert, I had a mini waffle with caramel and fudge brownies. Seriously you guys, this place was to die for! I also ordered a drink and found something super cool and weird. I ordered a vodka lemonade (my usual) and they gave me a glass with vodka in it and a side bottle of lemonade so I could mix my own drink. I don’t know if other states around the country do this but in Minnesota that is NOT a thing. It was awesome.

I’m now back in my hotel room trying to keep my eyes open. I love it here, it’s definitely my perfect vacation. Tomorrow I’m taking on the London Eye and Phantom of the Opera at the London Theatre, I don’t really need to say this but I am so excited!

First Full Week Back

Well I’m not going to lie, this week has been long and crazy. Coming back from break was great! I missed my kiddos so much but man, a full week of school after 3+ weeks, is hard! I feel like the first full week of school in September!

Monday morning started the week off great when one of my kiddos brought me a Christmas present that came in the mail last weekend. She had told me about it but then was sad because she said it wasn’t coming. (She’s a cutie who likes to fabricate her stories so I wasn’t even sure she was serious about this gift in the first place.) Oh my goodness it was AMAZING.

Side note: To get how amazing, you have to know that I have a cat who I love and I’m OBSESSED with Harry potter!

Her family had gotten me a shirt that was all of the Harry Potter characters AS CATS!!! It was honestly the best shirt I’ve ever seen in my life!

img_3659

It made my whole week and it was only Monday morning!

For the most part, the week went pretty smoothly. My kiddos were back to normal! Most of them were with me all of the time and my usual special kiddos were back to their normal selves (which was actually shockingly refreshing!)

We FINALLY had a normal week!!!! I’ve missed normal weeks!! We had a normal reading week and started our new math chapter. Everything was finally back to normal. For me, that makes the week go by faster and easier.

Today we did one of my favorite winter projects to end the week! I love snowmen (my last post is a perfect example of that) so I wanted to add snowmen to our “rocking work” wall. Last year (my first year) I just simply searched on Pinterest for an easy and cute snowman project and I found this one (which is pretty common but cute!)

img_3671

They had an idea on what to do and then I let them take their own creative path. They turned out so cute!! They definitely were creative but overall, they were super cute! I have a wall in the back of my classroom to hang their artwork. I’ve found this to be a super easy way to display work without wasting my time taping/stapling up work every few weeks.

My life has been so crazy that I haven’t been able to post anything in a week! A lot more happened this week that I should have talked about but we all know how teaching life takes over 12 hours of your day before you’re ready for bed again! My goal is to do better and share more about what we do day to day in our room. More than likely, that won’t happen for awhile but I will do my best!

Happy first full week back!!