A few years ago, I read Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking book Mindset, The New Psychology of Success and I was completely blown away. The basic premise of her study is that a person’s mindset toward learning and growing is the main determinant of how smart they are and become. If you approach life with a growth mindset, you believe you will always be able to learn and grow as a person.
A fixed mindset in a person tends to restrict them to the belief that they were born with a certain amount of intelligence and that growth is limited. It was a groundbreaking study and it has changed the way we view student achievement in schools. Now we know that all of our students have the capacity to learn and become successful regardless of where they start. Teaching kids to work hard, make mistakes, and keep trying can lead to success in school and in life.
When I began trying to teach my students how to have a growth mindset, I would read books to them about what is means to have a growth mindset:
Giraffes Can’t Dance by G. Andrea and G. Parker-Rees
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett & Gary Rubinstein
She Persisted:13 Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton & Alexandra Boiger
Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan
These are just a few of the wonderful books that you can read to your students. Of course, the more we expose them to literature that teaches and reinforces the idea that you can grow your brain, make mistakes, and learn from it – the better our students will feel about their own struggles. Better yet – they will learn to develop a growth mindset for themselves!
As a classroom teacher though, I want to do more for my students. I started with goal setting to focus my kiddos on the concept of having ownership over their learning by having specific strategies to reach their goals. You can read more about that in my post: Using a Growth Mindset to Set Goals in the Classroom. I loved how my students responded to goal setting, but I didn’t want them to think it was something that we did in the classroom only. I wanted them to learn about real people who overcame obstacles by having a growth mindset. But here’s the thing…I want them to do it. I want them to read about a real person, analyze the facts about their life, decide what obstacles they overcame, and how they grew and persevered through it to become successful. I also want them to be able to relate to these people in some way – to be able to see themselves or someone they know in them. Maybe they will be inspired by an athlete, a ballerina, or a Supreme Court justice and know that anyone can have a growth mindset.
I ended up creating a resource of 10 mini-biographies that represents a very diverse group of people and has been very popular with classroom teachers.
Each biography is a short, quick read with three question prompts for students to answer. I really loved that each of these people had amazing quotes that fit perfectly with the growth mindset idea, so I also included bookmarks that students can use daily that will be a great reminder for them.
These biographies could be used for morning meetings, centers, bell work, and so much more! Your students could use them as a springboard to research and learn more about these ten people OR look for additional people who have become successful through their own growth mindset! Click here to take a closer look at this resource!
Because I believe so strongly in teaching our students how a growth mindset will help them in the classroom every day, I also created 5 mini-posters that are free in my store! Just follow this link.
“With the right mindset and the right teaching, people are
capable of a lot more than we think.”