Thursday, October 10, 2013

Teaching about Growth Mindset Early in the Year

I have written quite a few posts about the concept of having a Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset and being inspired by Carol Dweck's book, Mindset and Peter Johnston's book, Opening Minds.  Click here to read posts I have written about the concept and my learning/new thinking from reading their books.  

This year, I decided to start the year off with talking about the concept of having a growth mindset with my students and not waiting.  Just like last year, I read The Dot by Peter Reynolds on the second day of school and began talking about the power of the word YET and how we should use that word as learners when describing something we can't do YET instead of just saying, "I can't do this, it is too hard." This book opens the doors to a powerful conversation about what having a growth mindset means.  See our class chart below that we created while reading aloud The Dot and what students had to contribute about the word YET and having perseverance instead of giving up on trying.  

After a few days of talking about the difference between having a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset, we created this class t-chart to visually compare the two mindsets and how they are opposites.  Students contributed their thinking about the two mindsets and also what a person with that kind of mindset might say.  

While reading Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick as our first chapter book read aloud in September, we came across this important line: "Your mind is something you always can change." This line immediately reminded the students of growth mindset so they wanted to add it to our Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset chart so we created a new one below that includes the important line.

I am noticing that students are referring to growth mindset and fixed mindset during partner conversations about their characters as well as during turn and talks during our read alouds.  They are internalizing these important concepts early in the year as learners and I am seeing students persevere while trying to have a growth mindset themselves.  I will continue to have conversations with students about this concept and have students reflect throughout the year about their own mindsets as well as the mindsets of characters.  

If you have not read Mindset by Carol Dweck or Opening Minds by Peter Johnston, I highly recommend that you add them to the top of your stack to read.  I read these books for the first time a over a year ago and they have impacted my teaching and learning in multiple ways! 


  1. Just came across this post on Pinterest. I love the way you're teaching students about the growth mindset. Brilliant work, Melanie!

  2. LOVE this post!! Curious - has your focus of mindset had an effect on students who had a fixed mindset?

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