As we continue our growth mindset discussions, we have been celebrating mistakes and growing our brains. I have seen students’ effort rise and self-motivation increase. In discussions, students are being brave by sharing the mistakes they have made so that we can all learn from them. They are beginning to become familiar with the different ways that I have been grading, such as highlighting mistakes. We have been discouraging using the phrase “I can’t,” but this week in our growth mindset video during morning meeting we learned that maybe it is OK to say this phrase as long as we add another word to the end: YET.
Let’s be realistic, there are things that we cannot do right now. We can be real with our students. I often using my journey as a runner as an example when we are talking about growth mindset. It is a subject that most of my students can relate to. I tell them that when I was younger, I hated running. I share my struggle with my brother when I was growing up. He was a “bully” to me and always bragged about how he could run faster than me. I always thought “I can’t run fast,” “I can’t run far.” Yet, now I can say that I am now faster than him and have ran a half-marathon. I explained that all I needed to do was work towards my goal and believe in myself. Another thing that helped me towards my goal was having a support system in my running partner. Students then made connections to their own life and experiences.
When we watched our Dojo video about the power of yet, this was a great connection to our setting goals discussion. In our twitter chat with Miss Griep’s class this week, she asked the question: What is so powerful about the word “yet?” Share a “yet” moment from your life! Students were so excited to share times that they thought they couldn’t do something, and overcame their “can’t” and were successful. One of my students shared a time that they were struggling with addition and subtraction in second grade. She said that she had to go to a tutor. She said she thought she would never be successful in Math, but when she started working with a tutor she starting to enjoy Math. She said that instead of saying she can’t do Math back then, she should have said can’t yet. This was a mature and brave sharing example, and was helpful for us to all hear. I was so excited that the students were feeling comfortable and courageous enough to share times like this with the whole class. We responded to Miss Griep’s class and said that the word yet brought so much possibilities to our futures.
This was a great way for us to move into our literacy block that day. We started the Daily 5 by journaling about our experiences in reading so far this year. I told students to be honest about what they think they “can’t” do now that they will be able to achieve by the end of the year. Throughout the week I met with students and we talked about building stamina. Students were very thoughtful in thinking about how many minutes they should be able to be on task reading. They shared goals about reading minutes, written response, vocabulary, etc. This individual time with my students may have been short (realistic time crunch), but it did not take long to review the goals with each individual students so that I can learn about where they are and where they expect to be. Being reflective learners is very important to increase self-motivation, and I am hoping to see some strong responsible learners in the Daily 5 for the rest of the year!