Growth Mindset Matters

Give your students a better shot at success.

I don’t think it is possible to be a teacher and not have heard about Growth Mindset. However, if for some reason you haven’t, the concept of a growth mindset was pioneered by Carol Dweck. To explain in simply, our mindsets are beliefs about our most basic qualities and how we perceive our ability to do or accomplish things. When it comes to learning, a mindset can be classified as a fixed mindset or growth mindset. If you have a fixed mindset you believe that intelligence is innate and can’t be altered or changed. If you have a growth mindset you believe that intelligence is more like a muscle and can be developed, trained, and strengthened.

It’s easy to see that a growth mindset is what should be fostered in students in order for them to succeed, but it’s just as important that educators are subscribing to the belief as well. Here are a few simple ways that you can make sure that you are fostering a growth mindset in your classroom and giving your students a better shot at success.
The first key to establishing a growth mindset in your classroom is believing in it yourself. I always introduce growth mindset the very first day of school and explain why it is so important. I tell a story about my own life and how having a growth mindset helped me overcome obstacles. Then I start by asking students what they think it means to have a growth mindset and we work on a sorting game as a class. We try to figure out without much prior knowledge where each phrase should go and discover what it means to have a growth mindset together. The students always have truly meaningful discussions and as the game comes to an end there is always an overwhelming feeling of positivity and determination that comes over the class. 
Give your students a better shot at success.
We then get to choose one of the super fun coloring pages (version with pictures and version without pictures) below to complete and continue our discussions as a class. I like to take the time while students are coloring to discuss failure. It’s an unavoidable part of learning, and life, and can be super frustrating. But, handled in the right way, failure can be a stepping stone to the much bigger picture of how we are going to succeed. We talk about how being unsuccessful in a particular lesson or skill doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve failed at something, but we just haven’t succeeded yet. Helping students understand that obstacles we encounter can be overcome is a key way of developing a growth mindset. You can also try out one of the coloring pages for free here.

In the last few years that I’ve incorporated this foundation that is so extremely important I’ve noticed a huge shift in how my students perceive not only themselves, but also how they react when given a difficult or challenging assignment or task. Throughout the school year I have ways to remind students of their efforts and persistence. Sometimes I just drop off these growth mindset encouragement cards, and other times I recognize a need for longer class discussions. So these coloring notes are perfect for taking a short break from “following the lesson plan”. If I feel that a longer in class discussion is necessary we take a brain break and color and talk to one another about all of these super important ways that we can continue to have a growth mindset! 
I also keep a super inspiring bulletin board up all year as a constant reminder for my students to be positive and determined to do their very best. This bulletin board can serve as a great opener to any of the discussions you want to have about growth mindset! I use this bulletin board every year to showcase how important having a growth mindset is. It is inspirational and helps motivate students to keep a positive mindset. It creates amazing dialog and makes students appreciate how much a positive mindset improves their everyday life. And bonus, it is super simple to create! Just cut and display! It is so easy to set up and have a beautiful and colorful bulletin board that can be left up all year long! 

If you would like to get ALL of the growth mindset activities mentioned you can check out this money saving bundle! I know you and your students will LOVE them!