Saturday, July 9, 2016

Play and a Growth Mindset

Chapter 6
Play And A Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset: An Exploration
There are 2 mindsets- a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. When someone has a fixed mindset, one believes that intelligence is static. Most of our students have a fixed mindset. You know them. “I can’t do this.” “I’m not good at math.” “I don’t know how to read.” “I can’t write. I don’t know how to spell.” Let’s face it, we have all done this at some point in our life. A growth mindset is when we show effort in our work to become successful. We look for feedback to help us succeed. We show perseverance when things get difficult. Last year I did this lesson on perseverance at the beginning of each year. I got the idea from Tara West from “Little Minds AtWork”. You can watch the video here. 

It was the best decision I made to do with my little learners. By doing this lesson, it helped my students develop many growth mindset qualities, such as persistence, flexibility, metacognition, curiosity, and risk-taking. We discussed ways we show perseverance every day. Through play, we can see our students’ growth mindset. They show it when building with blocks. They may be building a huge city, but what happens when it falls over. Well, they rebuild it of course. How about when our students are on the playground and they are playing on the monkey bars? Of course, they may fall off, but you will see them get right back up and try it again. What are they doing this time? They are showing their growth mindset in a risk-free environment. Let’s think of how we can teach this to them during play.

Exploring Growth Mindsets in Play
There are very few places in which children feel comfortable taking risks. Not every child comes to school with play experiences. We may have to facilitate that in the beginning of the school year. It is critical to develop growth mindset through play.

Focus Area: Brains, Like Bodies, Can Grow and Change
First, we must understand that our brain is not fixed. It is flexible and can change. By developing growth mindset, we can foster certain characteristics, such as resilience, optimism, empathy, flexibility, and persistence. We can help our students develop these through storytelling, self-talk, reflection, and goal setting.

When children need:
Talking oneself through challenges
What we might teach:
-How to talk to yourself when things are hard

When children need:
Recovering from mistakes
What we might teach:
-Reflect on what happened, and generate options to make it work better the next time.
-Use self-talk to calm down and start again

When children need:
Trying something new
What we might teach:
-Set goals
-Make a step-by-step plan before you start

When children need:
Sticking with a challenge
What we might teach:
-Use self-talk to help you get through this
-Take a break and get back in

Curriculum Connections: Collaboration and Negotiation

The Promise of Yet: Thinkers Grow in Reading, Writing, Math, and the Content Areas

An important aspect of reading workshop is the sharing and reflection time. Often times, we select work to share because they have meet the standard. We can restructure this by having students share based on their strong work towards reaching that standard.

Similar to reading, rather than celebrate completed work, we can celebrate throughout the writing process. We can highlight the editing process, celebrate a student trying to spell a word of his/her own, and eventually reflect on their process to their final piece.

In Math, we can have them reflect on what they did when they faced a challenge. We can discuss trying one strategy and then another.

Social Studies
Our students get the opportunity to make sense of what they notice, wonder, and think about the community around them.

In assessment these days, we are forced to have a fixed mindset when assessing our students. We are often required to give a grade or even a 1, 2, 3,and 4 for benchmarks. A child who receives a 1 or a 2 is often seen as a failure. However if we think of this same child with a growth mindset, this same child may receive a “not yet” instead of a numerical number, which shows us hope that the child will meet the benchmark. It may take this child longer than others, but they will get there.

By expanding our thoughts on growth mindset and establishing this in our students through play we will see them learning the skills needed to succeed.

How can we show growth mindset in our classrooms through play?

Don’t forget to join me on my book study on play by reading   Purposeful Play. Find it  HERE. 

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