Tuesday, December 5, 2000

Resource: 29 Ways to Stay Creative

This great graphic is designed by Islam Abudaoud. You can see the full-size infographic here, and it's also been made into a Vimeo video! It inspired me to make cats; here are the Stay-Creative Cats.

Monday, August 21, 2000

Tech Tip

For the Tech Tip, here's an example of cats in a row and cats in a stack.

Cats in a row (not more than 400 pixels wide total, same height):


Cats stacked (same width: 400 pixels; height doesn't matter):

Images: Curious - Sometimes - Success.

Monday, August 14, 2000

Memes and a Twitter Stream from Mrs. Kerschner

One of the "growth mindset teachers" I have met through Twitter is Mrs. Kerschner. I've included her Twitter stream down at the bottom of this post so you can see the latest resources that she is sharing, and here are some memes she sent me to share here: so cool!

Thursday, July 6, 2000

Infographic: Beliefs of the Growth Mindset Facilitator

I found this great graphic in a blog post by Jackie Gerstein: Learning About Young Makers. Thanks, Jackie!

Beliefs of the Growth Mindset Facilitator

  • You are capable of so much more than you can even imagine.
  • I believe in you and your capabilities even if you don’t, but the ultimate goal is for you to internalize these beliefs.
  • Failure is okay but you need to stand up after you fall/fail.
  • Everyone’s unique self is valued and valuable.
  • Your peers and I will support you as you take risks; attempt new ways of being. It is up to you to decide the type of support you need.
  • Conditions will be set up for you to be challenged. It is up to you to take responsibility to embrace those challenges.
  • You can go beyond your self-perceived limits. I might push you a bit to do so because I believe you can succeed.

Wednesday, July 5, 2000

Infographic: Create Orbits

There is a lot of overlap between Jackie Gerstein's acrostic poster Create Orbits (a.k.a. An Educator’s Soul Survivor Kit) and the growth mindset; visit the blog post to see the full version: Creativity and Orbiting the Giant Hairball of School.

C-R-E-A-T-E   O-R-B-I-T-S

Courage to teach and learn via the paths less traveled
Responsible risk-taking and responsible creativity
Enlist colleague, learner and parent support
Avoid complacency - getting too comfrotable
Transparency - widely share what you know and do
Escape from self-imposed limitations
Original thinking does matter
Reflect deeply on what's working, what is not
Bridge what is to what could be
Innovate within boundaries of acceptability
Trust process of creativity: time it takes for change
Stop trying to be normal; stop stifling your growth

Infographic: Questions to Help Guide Learning

Jackie Gerstein's Questions to Help Guide Learning are also a good way to promote the growth mindset (visit the blog post for full-sized view):

Questions to Help Guide Learning:
  • Is failure viewed as normal and as a productive part of the learning process?
  • Is learning spaced out over time rather than crammed into a short time period?
  • Are distractions during learning normalized?
  • Is the learning practiced often and in a variety of contexts?
  • Is learning playful and fun? This is especially important when 0ne gets “stuck” at an impasse.

Infographic: Self-Regulation

A crucial dimension of the growth mindset is self-regulation so that you can be your own best helper as you grow. Here is Jackie Gerstein's illustration of the different elements of self-regulation:

(visit the blog post for full-sized version)

metacognitive knowledge
cognitive regulation
emotional regulation
self-directed time management
unique and situational problem-solving abilities

Infographic: Educator as a Model Learner

You can see elements of the growth mindset here in Jackie Gerstein's illustration for Educators as Lead Learners.

Educator as a Model Learner
(visit the blog post for full-sized version)

think about your learning
note your steps to learning
build self-evaluative reflection into the learning process
make a record of your learning artifacts
acknowledge and respect that the learning process is iterative

Infographic: Skills and Attributes of Today's Learner

As you can see, there is a lot of overlap between Jackie Gerstein's illustration of the many skills of today's learners with the growth mindset, especially curiosity and imagination, hope and optimism, self-regulation, vision, agility and adaptability, and resilience:

(visit the blog post for the full-sized version)

effective oral and written communication
* do you provide learners with lots of opportunities to speak and write using their own unique and genuine voices?
* do you help learners create focus, energy, passion around the oral and written communications they want to make?

collaboration across networks
* do you facilitate global communication and collaboration with your learners?
* do you give learners opportunities to collaborate face-to-face and virtually?
* do you assist your learners in developing their own personal learning networks?

agility and adaptability
* do you accept change as normal and natural, and assist your learners in doing so too?
* are you and your learners flexible?
* do you and your learners use a variety of tools to solve new problems?

* do you give learners opportunities to work on long-term, complex projects?
* do you assist learners in identifying and acknowledging the rewards of persevering through tough times?

* do you help learners see failures as opportunities for growth?
* do you encourage and reinforce learners' own innate resiliency?
* do you ensure that each and every learner knows "You Matter"?

empathy and global stewardship
* do you provide learners with opportunities for perspective-taking?
* do you assist learners in understanding the interdependence of all living systems?
* do you create opportunities for learners to put empathy into action, engage in pro-social behavior intended to benefit others?

vision for the future
* do you give learners the time, resources, and opportunity to identify and pursue their dreams?
* do you assist learners in developing the steps and strategies needed to achieve their dreams?

* do you model and assist learners in developing and understanding their own metacognitive processes?
* do you help learners develop their own ability to self-motivate?
* do you assist learners in reflecting on and evaluating their learning experiences?

hope and optimism
* do you model, teach, reinforce positive self-talk? a can-do attitude?
* do you assist learners in enhancing their personal agency thinking?
* do you expose learners to stories that portray how others have succeeded or overcome adversity?

curiosity and imagination
* do you promote, encourage, and reinforce inquisitiveness?
* do you encourage your learners to add their own "personal touches" to their learning experiences?

initiative and entrepreneurialism
* do you assist learners in becoming involved in meaningful work?
* do you provide opportunities for learners to take risks, take their own initiative to do things?

critical thinking and problem-solving
*do you promote and reinforce doing things that haven't been done before, where you and your learners have to rethink or think anew?
* do you ask learners to generate and ask their own unique essential questions?

Infographic: Educators Moving from a Fixed to a Growth Mindset

And here's another great graphic from Jackie Gerstein, this time about the intersection of growth mindset and your personal learning network, PLN:

(visit the post for the full-sized version)

I can network and connect with others for resources, assistance, and support.
I can make a different in students' lives.
I value my relationships with students (even over content) I can make one small change at a time in my learning environment. 
I can let go of my need to control all variables.
I can find ways to change even under adversity.
I can bring my and my students' passions into learning activities.
I can risk trying new learning activities.
I can use technology to make both my own and my students' learning richer.

Infographic: The Educator and the Growth Mindset

Be sure to visit Jackie Gerstein's blog post to see the slide presentation that goes with this resource, along with the full-sized version of the graphic:

Fixed Mindset
feelings of powerlessness, learned helplessness

Growth Mindset
feelings of empowerment to positively influence students and learning community

Identify Own Self-Defeating, Fixed-Mindset Thinking
metacognitive awareness of negative and toxic self-statements (the students might not see me as an expert if I make a mistake; I have too much to do. I don't have time to plan and do new things in my classroom)

Acknowledging One's Own Choice
choice in perceptions and thoughts about the experience and choice in actions taken

Model and Directly Teach Growth Mindsets
in the context that ALL students are capable of growing through personal effort.

Give Learners Personal Agency
learners get opportunities to choose, set goals, struggle, fail

Use Performance-Based Feedback Systems
assessing effort and progress through the educator, peers, and self


This post has moved.


Video: Make Challenge the New Comfort Zone (2 min.)

I found this video clip of Carol Dweck in a blog post by Jackie Gerstein:
Learning About Young Makers. I've provided a transcript below the video; it's very short, but it gets at a key idea: what do we need to do differently so that students in school will seek out difficult challenges, rather than avoiding them? One part of the answer has to do with praising effort and not punishing mistakes; you can find out more in this video: Praise and Mindsets.

by Carol Dweck 

I think we've made a huge mistake in our childrearing practices, in our educational system. We tell kids they should feel good when things were easy for them and they got everything right; that's a cause for celebration Not in my book. In my book it means you're not learning as much as you could. If it was easy, you probably already knew how to do it. We should make kids feel cheated if the work is too easy for them or if the teachers gloss over their errors and don't give them good feedback We should have kids asking for harder work, wanting the challenging problems.  I want "challenge" to become the new comfort zone, not "easy" being the comfort zone.

Saturday, July 1, 2000

English: Power grows when you carry a load.

Made with cheezburger; animation created with GIMP (just click "open as layers," select both image files, then do safe-as-gif, with animation at 5000 milliseconds).

I started with the traditional Latin motto, and then I translated into English. The Latin word "virtus" is notoriously difficult to translate, but "power" seemed like the best option for this context. You can read more about the Latin word here: virtus.

Crescit sub pondere virtus.

Power grows when you carry a load.

Thursday, June 29, 2000

Latin-Spanish-English: If you can dream it, you can do it.

This was so much fun! Susan Strickland created a beautiful Latin LOLCat, which she shared at Cheezburger. When a cat is shared that way at Cheezburger, other people can "recaption" the image. I provided the English, and a friend at Google+ supplied the Spanish, so now we have this cat in three languages, and it is our first Spanish cat at the blog! (Gracias, Sordatos!) The animation is done with GIMP (just click "open as layers," select both image files, then do safe-as-gif, with animation at 5000 milliseconds).

Si potes somniare, facere potes.

Si puedes soƱarlo, puedes hacerlo.

If you can dream it, you can do it.

Saturday, June 17, 2000









"The Curiosity Cycle" by Jonathan Mugan
"How To Be An Explorer of the World" by Keri Smith (this is just fun too!)

Some articles that may be interesting in :
Curiosity: The Fuel of Development (Scholastic)

Why Curiosity Enhances Learning

How Curiosity Changes the Brain To Enhance Learning (Science Daily)

5 Learning Strategies That Make Students Curious

Encouraging Curiosity for Better Learning: Too Small to Fail

Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why? (nprED)
npr.org - Home Page Top Stories - Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why?
Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why?
Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why?


Today's cat is inspired by a great article by Linda Flanagan at MindShift: How to Spark Curiosity in Children Through Embracing Uncertainty.

Without insight into the holes in our knowledge, students mistakenly believe that some subjects are closed. They lose humility and curiosity in the face of this conceit.

Jamie Holmes [...] has just written a book on the hidden benefits of uncertainty. In “Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing,”

He wants students to grapple with uncertainty to spark their curiosity and better prepare them for the “real world,” where answers are seldom clear-cut or permanent.

Columbia neuroscience professor Stuart Firestein [...] argues that “insightful ignorance” drives science.

Address the emotional impact of uncertainty.

Assign projects that provoke uncertainty.

inviting students to find mistakes; asking them to present arguments for alien viewpoints; and providing assignments that students will fail.

“The best assignments should make students make mistakes, be confused and feel uncertain,” [Holmes] said.

Adopt a non-authoritarian teaching style to encourage exploration, challenge and revision.

Teachers who instruct with a sense of humanity, curiosity and an appreciation for mystery are more apt to engage students in learning.

When teachers present themselves as experts imparting wisdom, students get the mistaken idea that subjects are closed. “Teachers should help students find ways to think and learn,” he said. “The best teachers are in awe of their subjects.”

Emphasize the current topics of debate in a field.

Sharing what researchers, historians and theorists are arguing about now makes clear that questioning and challenging facts are what drive discovery.

Invite guest speakers to share the mysteries they’re exploring.

Chemists, statisticians, zoologists and others share with students the ambiguities that excite them, opening students’ minds to the vast unknowns waiting to be examined.

When Mollie Cueva-Dabkoski was growing up, her mother took her to the library every week to read stories together. When the storytelling ended, her mother asked questions that challenged the narrative and pressed Mollie to reconsider the protagonist’s motives, or to rethink the gender norms.

How to explain her wide-ranging curiosity? “There are big gaps in my knowledge,” [Cueva-Dabkoski] said.

When Success Leads to Failure
The pressure to achieve academically is a crime against learning.
by Jessica Lahey
The article is an excerpt from Jessica Lahey’s book, The Gift of Failure.

“Marianna’s grades are fine; I’m not worried about that, but she just doesn’t seem to love learning anymore.” Above all else, we taught her to fear failure. That fear is what has destroyed her love of learning. [...] The truth—for this parent and so many others—is this: Her child has sacrificed her natural curiosity and love of learning at the altar of achievement, and it’s our fault.
DONE: Follow your natural curiosity and see what you learn.

Marianna’s parents, her teachers, society at large—we are all implicated in this crime against learning. From her first day of school, we pointed her toward that altar and trained her to measure her progress by means of points, scores, and awards. We taught Marianna that her potential is tied to her intellect, and that her intellect is more important than her character. We taught her to come home proudly bearing As, championship trophies, and college acceptances, and we inadvertently taught her that we don’t really care how she obtains them. We taught her to protect her academic and extracurricular perfection at all costs and that it’s better to quit when things get challenging rather than risk marring that perfect record. Above all else, we taught her to fear failure. That fear is what has destroyed her love of learning.

[Marianna] knows that if she tries something challenging or new, and fails, that failure will be hard evidence that she’s not as smart as everyone keeps telling her she is. Better to be safe. Is that what we want? Kids who get straight As but hate learning? Kids who achieve academically, but are too afraid to take leaps into the unknown?

[Marianna's mother] wants to give Marianna everything and yet she forgets that her best childhood experiences likely arose from the thrill of facing challenge, from the moments she lost herself in the trying and, when she failed, trying again to accomplish something all on her own, simply for the adventure and pleasure inherent in learning something new.

Is that what we want? Kids who get straight As but hate learning?

Get motivated:
All is well.
Believe you can.
Everything is possible.
Stay strong.
Never give up.
Do it now.


Neil Gaiman quotes:

When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician — make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor — make good art. IRS on your trail — make good art. Cat exploded — make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before — make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn’t even matter. Do what only you can do best: Make good art. Make it on the bad days, make it on the good days, too.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Today's cat was inspired by this excellent infographic at This Nifty Infographic Is a Great Introduction to Neuroplasticity and Cognitive Therapy. The infographic itself comes from Alta Mira Recovery Programs.

Collection: Alta Mira

We feel good; we seek to repeat the activity.
You are the architect of your brain.
The brain changes based on experiences.
New skills carve out new brain pathways.
Practice forms new habits.
Direct your attention to the desired change.
Environmental cues create intensecraves.
Set goals and make conscious decisions.
Seek pleasure from healthy pursuits.
Learn to live a comfortable and responsible life.
Avoid substances that provide unhealthy rewards.
Seek support from peers and take care of yourself.
Highly focused activities help keep the brain in the good shape.
The brain is a muscle that grows with exercise.
Mindfulness and meditation help the brain create new pathways.


This article focuses on the link between growth mindset and creativity, which is one of my favorite aspects of working with a growth mindset: A Growth Mindset Fuels Creativity in Youth by Marilyn Price-Mitchell.

"When children develop growth mindsets, they see themselves as creative works in progress. On the other hand, those with fixed mindsets see their abilities as static, so they avoid challenge and failure."

Jack Andraka: 15-year-old who developed test for pancreatic cancer. Jack in interview said: “You can be a genius, but if you don’t have the creativity to put that knowledge to use, then you just have a bunch of knowledge and nothing else. I mean, like, then you’re just as good as my smartphone.”

Growth Mindset #1: “I see connections.”
"they must know how to recognize, analyze, and respond to a web of relationships that are impacted by small- and large-scale change. This requires a shift from linear to non-linear thinking."

Growth Mindset #2: “I am open to new ideas.”
Einstein’s words, “We can’t solve the world’s problems by using the same type of thinking we used when we created them,” couldn’t ring more true today.

Growth Mindset #3: “I bow to my mistakes.”
"Innovation only occurs when we have the courage to make mistakes and learn from them. Instead of shaming students who don’t perform to expectations, we must teach them that mistakes are part of their growth as human beings."
"If you haven’t heard of the Failure Bow, read about it in the Harvard Business Review. Developed by Matt Smith, an improvisation teacher, it works by teaching people to raise their hands in the air, announce “I failed,” grin like a compliant dog, and then move on."

Growth Mindset #4: “I embrace diversity.”
"The world is made up of different cultures that collaborate and collide at lightning speeds. Key to the development of better products, services, and policies is a young person’s ability to understand people who are different from themselves."

Growth Mindset #5: “I live in a human-virtual world.”
"The next generation of leaders will know how to use the power of the Internet and its tools to connect with people and ideas across the globe."
"Today’s youth must learn to live in human and virtual spaces simultaneously, harnessing the benefits of both."

Sunday, June 11, 2000

Mrs. Bean gallery

Then I found a photo by Brad Esau of the beautiful Mrs. Bean (more about Brad and Mrs. Bean and more Mrs. Bean memes); this one is from the album ___.

Natural Cat Photography

Bean in Hope
Mrs Bean during our time in Hope, BC

The Adventures of Mrs Bean
The intrepid First Office Bean (AKA Mrs Bean)