Friday, June 26, 2015

The Super Power of YET! - Fostering the Growth Mindset

I don't know if there has ever been an educational idea that I have ever been as pumped up about as The Growth Mindset.  If you have not read this book,  you NEED to.

I'm not exaggerating.   I have applied it to my own life, to my mothering,  my marriage, my teaching, my everything.   And the book has a sister...

This book has a million ways to use this thinking in your classroom.

The main idea of the book is that you can have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.   A growth mindset is having the belief that you can always improve,  intelligence and talent are not fixed and with work and time you can improve yourself in any area. It is the belief that potential is never really reached - you can always take it further.    A fixed mindset is having the belief that we are all born with a set intelligence (IQ) and sort of "bundle of potential" and we can't really ever get past that.   You are good at math or you're not, you are a good singer or you are not.  

The first time I read the book,  I bawled.   I had recently had a special education meeting about my son and received a report of his IQ.   It is low.  We knew that.  But under the score,  the information printed stated that we should expect that this IQ will remain within a few points for the rest of his life.  DEFEATING.   While reading this book I felt an enormous surge of hope and excitement.   I know that where he gets in life may not be in the typical range,  but his potential is NOT PREDETERMINED.  Holy wow!   It has changed the way we look at everything with him (and my other kids too), and we addressed this wording in his last meeting and had some of it changed.   It was like a weight off our shoulders.

I recently went to a training and the presenter talked about the power of YET.   That we might not be good at something yet,  but that doesn't mean we can't be.   What an amazingly powerful message for kids when they start in our class.  If we teach them to think in terms of YET,  then they are always striving to get there.   I was so excited about it,  that I went home and started working on this.  I am so excited to use this in the fall.

It is a whole packet of fun goal planning,  progress monitoring, positive thinking goodies to get your kids thinking about the power of YET.   It can be applied to any subject or any life skill.  It applies to baseball, singing, reading, math facts, ANYTHING.   I tried to make sure it could be used with kinder kids or 5th graders.  Please check it out if you get a chance!

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Out of That Room?

I have not posted in what feels like forever.   I am busiest I have ever been in my teaching career.   I have changed schools and I am teaching a very new and very different school.   I am in the same district,  but our district went out on a limb and built a new STEM Academy.   I absolutely love it 98% of the time.    It has been incredibly challenging and incredibly interesting.    I come home from work a whole new level of exhausted,  but I believe in what we are doing,  so it is good exhaustion.

I have wanted to post,  but then I get distracted by this or that. This year has been overwhelming.   But I want to get back to blogging,  I feel it makes me a better teacher.    My blog title seems kind of wrong these days as no longer have a "classroom".   Even the pink and cute doesn't feel so much like my teaching anymore.   I am thinking it is time for a blog make-over.   Something STEM-y.   Any ideas?

It is hard to explain how awesome my school is.   It is open concept,  very tech-ed out and beautiful.   Here is a little video showing a glimpse of it.  

This past year has been a lot of trial and error.   We have 3 second grade teachers and 3 third grade teachers in our "house".   We share an area that has 1 giant "classroom" - that can be made into 2 by closing a white board wall,  a giant science lab that can also be made into 2,  and a big open area in the middle with small kind of partially walled off areas.   You can see some in the video.  We have tried and retried a lot of different teaching models - and we feel like we have a good idea of what we are doing for next year!

We are a K-8 campus which is actually my favorite part.   I have never worked with middle school teachers and they are awesome!! We work in different ways and I feel like I have learned so much watching them.   It is also great to see the continuation of what we do.   Many of the 7th and 8th graders were in my class in 1st grade and it was so great to see them everyday and see how they were doing.   We are a PBL school and have some of the coolest opportunities to share.   I love seeing what PBL looks like in kinder one day and in 8th the next.  

Working here has made me think so much about teaching and education in general.   Our principals are amazing and truly listen to us and think through things with us.  They make decisions that make sense for kids.   I love that.   I will be better at blogging this coming year.   I am so excited to see what is in store for us!

But right now I am just really happy to have SUMMER!

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