We spent a majority of our first week learning about and discussing Growth Mindset. We began by defining "Fixed" and "Growth" Mindsets.
Fixed Mindset is the belief that a person's intelligence and ability is something they are born with. A person with a fixed mindset may give up on things when they get too difficult. They care about looking smart, and this often limits their true potential. Because looking smart, or wanting to look like it came easily to them, they will often seek out easy options.
Someone with a Growth Mindset believes that a person can grow and develop their abilities and intelligence. This type of person will often want to know how to improve and get better. They know that learning sometimes takes effort and they often don't give up on themselves. These type of people often see greater growth over time. Growth Mindset individuals will often seek a challenge because they know it will help them learn more.
One of our first activities was where we read The Dot by Peter Reynolds. This book is about a young girl that is hesitant to begin a painting. Her teacher asks her to make a mark on the paper and sign it. This begins a whole journey where the main character learns to make all different kinds of dots, even becoming a "dot expert" of sorts and her art work is put on display. We then asked students to make their own dot, a place that they were going to begin their 5th grade journey. Their dot should reflect something about themselves.
These dots some became part of our classroom door displays:
We continued to discuss Growth and Fixed Mindsets by sorting characteristics or actions of each.
This also became part of our classroom displays and something that we will reference throughout the school year.
We even talked about "Famous Failures". People we might thing are incredibly talented and maybe even perfect within their talent. Not so true, and we know this since we have a Growth Mindset. We know these people have had many failures along the way (like all of us), but the fact that they continued to have a Growth Mindset made all the difference for them!