Tuesday, December 29, 2015

English. Use your brain: interact!

This is the seventh in a series of cats to illustrate Howard Gardner's theory of "multiple intelligences," which is a very important concept for growth mindset: you can grow ALL those intelligences... just use your brain! You can find out more at Wikipedia or using the infographic and video at the bottom of this post. You'll note that I've skipped ahead here; this is one of the "Interpersonal" intelligences that will be coming up later — I wanted to do this cat in honor of Aras Bozkurt and a presentation of his that I just watched today on social network analysis!


Use your brain: interact!



Image is at cheezburger.


Both the infographic and video are by Marek Bennett:



Monday, December 28, 2015

English. Use your brain: think critically!

This is the sixth in a series of cats to illustrate Howard Gardner's theory of "multiple intelligences," which is a very important concept for growth mindset: you can grow ALL those intelligences... just use your brain! You can find out more at Wikipedia or using the infographic and video at the bottom of this post. This is another one of the logical-mathematical cats:


Use your brain: think critically!



Image is from cheezburger.


Both the infographic and video are by Marek Bennett:




Sunday, December 27, 2015

English. Use your brain: quantify!

This is the fifth in a series of cats to illustrate Howard Gardner's theory of "multiple intelligences," which is a very important concept for growth mindset: you can grow ALL those intelligences... just use your brain! You can find out more at Wikipedia or using the infographic and video at the bottom of this post. The previous cats were linguistic; this is the first of the logical-mathematical cats:


Use your brain: quantify!



Image is from cheezburger.


Both the infographic and video are by Marek Bennett:





Saturday, December 26, 2015

English. Use your brain: listen!

This is the fourth in a series of cats to illustrate Howard Gardner's theory of "multiple intelligences," which is a very important concept for growth mindset: you can grow ALL those intelligences... just use your brain! You can find out more at Wikipedia or using the infographic and video at the bottom of this post.


Use your brain: listen!



Photo at cheezburger.




Both the infographic and video are by Marek Bennett:






Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Final Wrap-Up for Fall 2015: Highlights from Weeks 11-15

In my previous Fall 2015 write-ups, I was sharing the blog posts with the students as a way for them to connect and explore each other's blogs... now, though, the class is over, so in this final wrap-up post, I won't be linking to blogs; instead, I'll just share a few of the highlights from the students' growth mindset contributions and observations during the last few weeks of the class. I was so excited to see that some of the students said that learning about growth mindset was one of the most important take-aways from the class!

So, here are some growth mindset highlights from Weeks 11-15 of the class:

Find Your Own Way. Thoughts from a college senior looking back on school: "I chose this meme for this week's Growth Mindset assignment because it relates to my time here at OU. During the first couple of semesters, I was often found myself placing more importance on "fitting in" and living up the "college experience" than on my studies. As a result, I had two semesters were my grades suffered badly. Once I realized what was happening, I prioritized and starting focusing more on my school work. Looking back on it, jeopardizing my classes by constantly worrying about fitting in was stupid. In fact, if everyone was on the exact same path, life would be extremely boring. It is amazing what opportunities life gives you when you start walking down your own path. This is something that I try to think about from time to time to make sure that I'm still on the right path."



Feedback. For many students, this is the first time they have ever received (or given) detailed writing feedback. I was really glad for what this student said: "In the past, I had a knee-jerk reaction to take any critique personally. Instead of seeing constructive criticism as a learning tool and as help from a trusted source, I harbored on my own imperfections. At times, this attitude prevented me from doing something just because I didn't think that I could do it perfectly!  This class has begun to change that mindset. By keeping Growth Mindset strategies in mind, I have endeavored to take each suggestion and compliment as a learning tool. Laura's emails with story revisions have especially helped me! I have found that, by acknowledging both my strengths and weaknesses, I can continually grow and learn. Then, by implementing those lessons, I can produce things that I am even more proud of!"

Friends. This is one of my favorite memes, so I was glad a student could connect with it in such a positive way: "This week one my best friends, Justin, who is also in this class go into his first medical school! I couldn't help but be so happy! We have a really good group of friends and when we found out we were all so happy for him! This is a great achievement for our group of friends."


Comfort Zone. I'm always glad to hear about venturing outside the comfort zone: "So this week I played around with my writing style. I normally write very deep and serious stories. This week I wanted to play around with something more playful. I wanted to explore characters that are already developed. That is why I focused on How I Met Your Mother. It is one of my favorite shows and I know it was an inspiration for someone who did a storytelling assignment in years past. I had a lot of fun doing it. It was completely out of my comfort zone." And here's another comfort zone comment: "I am proud of how I was able to set out of my comfort zone and deep learn about something I had no knowledge on. This prompts me with a question what other areas am I unaware of. How can I broaden my knowledge and mind to encompass them? The crazy thing is this class I didn't just learn about the epics of India. I learned about growth mindset, how to explain technology to people, and the importance of reflections."

Hard, not Easy. Likewise, embracing what is hard is a big part of growing! "I really love this meme! I hear very often that the best things in life are the ones that you worked the hardest for. The same thing with college. I am always complaining about how hard it is but even if I did have the choice to go back in time I would still come to college because I know that in the end it will be worth it."


NaNoWriMo. One of my students participated in NaNoWriMo this year! "With NaNoWriMo, and working on that every day, I am constantly challenging myself. Each time I challenge myself I am reminded of Growth Mindset. ... Thank you, Growth Mindset! Without you, I don't know if I'd get here."

Looking forward. Another meme reflection: "For this week I looked at memes again. Last week's meme really got me thinking and so I wanted to do some more exploring. This one really stuck out.I've been doing a lot of thinking recently about where I'd like to go post-graduation. I'm not exactly sure of what I want to do and I've been struggling with that. With the growth mindset I know that I just need to learn from what I'm doing and how I'm feeling and set up goals and a path to understand where I want to be in a few months.  I need to think about the big picture and how I'm going to get there. This helps me in school and in life. I'd like to have a successful semester and I will do so by learning from my mistakes of this past semester and keep growing from there."


The Power of Practice. I really liked the comments from one of my students who is a business major (an international student from China! it was great having his perspective in class this semester): "If my goal is to shake this world by coding skills, I think I need to practice millions of times. It looks scary; however, when we think about practice 100 times a day, one year means 36500 times. If I keep going, I will eventually become the 1% of programmers."

Steps. Lots of students picked this meme during the semester; it definitely resonates. Here's what one student remarked: "To start anything meaningful in life is hard work and it all starts from somewhere. That’s why I think it’s important to decide where you want to go and start today on getting there even if it’s not much. The “waiting around” is what kills people, which is why I plan on starting with my “small steps” straight out of college while I have the drive and the freedom to do so."


Mrs. Bean: Chase Your Dreams. I was so glad that a student made a connection with Mrs. Bean (a cat who belongs to a friend of mine): "As my schooling comes to an end I will still keep learning and chasing my dreams." In a separate blog post this same student observed: "I think my most valuable take away from this class was the growth mindset. it made me look at school in a new way. I wish that I would have known about it sooner so that I could have spent more time learning instead of worrying about grades."


Other Classes. I was really glad when students used growth mindset to approach other classes, esp. classes that might be more stressful than this one! For example: "I was fascinated by the growth Mindset from the beginning of this class. When I saw this picture, I had to choose this to write. Growth Mindset is an excellent idea. It focuses on not yet, rather than you failed. It gives hope and motivation to work harder and not give up. This has been a motivation for me in several classes this semester. When I didn’t achieve the score I wanted, I tried to get a better score next time by applying this method."



And more memes made by / shared by students! (The cats above are the ones I include in the announcements, different cat each day.)

This is a meme a student made back in the early weeks of the semester is still making the rounds as a student favorite, showing up in blogs at the end of the semester too! (This student has a bulldog of his own too!)


This student re-did one of my cat memes with a picture of her own kitty:


About dreaming big, one student said: "With dreaming big I think it's important that you dare and anticipate failing. What I took away from the poster is that, failing is what comes with the experience. No one is perfect and it's always good to learn from your mistakes. You can't expect to reach your dreams without hard work and a possible difficult journey!"


And the students shared lots of good motivators; here are some of them:





Earlier in the semester, a student had shared this ant meme before but with a different text; I like this one too!


And it is comments like this that convinced me to expand growth mindset into other kinds of success strategies! "Side note...this class is awesome and has helped me so much in many other areas in life other than just mythology. Doing assignments for this class actually helps me to de-stress."


Finally, I really appreciated learning from this student about a religion class she took: "I have this one class called Religion, Culture, and the Meaning of Life, and while it is probably the most interesting class I took this semester it is also probably the most challenging. This class poised a lot of challenge because it was such an introspective class. But it was exciting because I felt like I really got to flesh out my personal opinions on a lot of things. I think that this kind of personal growth is something that everyone should have to do at some point or another because it makes you grow as a person. I think that having problems that force you to look into yourself for the answers really can make everything in your classes seem easier somehow. Like as long as you know yourself you can make it through anything else." — and she shared this graphic:



English. Use your brain: talk!

This is the third in a series of cats to illustrate Howard Gardner's theory of "multiple intelligences," which is a very important concept for growth mindset: you can grow ALL those intelligences... just use your brain! You can find out more at Wikipedia or using the infographic and video at the bottom of this post.


Use your brain: talk!






Both the infographic and video are by Marek Bennett:







Tuesday, December 22, 2015

English. Use your brain: write!

This is the second in a series of cats to illustrate Howard Gardner's theory of "multiple intelligences," which is a very important concept for growth mindset: you can grow ALL those intelligences... just use your brain! You can find out more at Wikipedia or using the infographic and video at the bottom of this post.

Use your brain: write!




Both the infographic and video are by Marek Bennett:







Monday, December 21, 2015

English. Use your brain: read!

This is the first in a series of cats to illustrate Howard Gardner's theory of "multiple intelligences," which is a very important concept for growth mindset: you can grow ALL those intelligences... just use your brain! You can find out more at Wikipedia or using the infographic and video at the bottom of this post.

Use your brain: read!




Both the infographic and video are by Marek Bennett:







Friday, December 18, 2015

Video: The Sleeper

I hope you will enjoy this WONDERFUL video by Michael Wesch, a professor of anthropology at Kansas State: The Sleeper. Here you can see how important it is that teachers also have a growth mindset, being ready to accept a challenge to change the way that they teach in order to reach every student:


You can read a transcript of the video here in Michael Wesch's Teaching Notebook — The Sleeper.








Carol Dweck - A Study on Praise and Mindsets

This short video focuses on Carol Dweck's research into "praise" and how it affects children's development. Some children were praised for their intelligence (you must be really smart!), and some were praised for their effort (you worked really hard). Then, given a choice about whether to do something easy or hard, the children who had been praised for their intelligence, most of the children chose the easy task. When the children were praised for their effort, almost all of them chose the harder task! There were other important findings too, as you can see in this video, and you can find out more in this article by Carol Dweck in Scientific American: The Secret to Raising Smart Kids.



Sal Khan interviews Carol Dweck

This is a meeting between Sal Khan of Khan Academy and Carol Dweck in which Carol Dweck provides a basic overview of the concept of the growth mindset. Khan Academy has also collaborated with the PERTS Center at Stanford to create a Growth Mindset Lesson Plan. One of my favorite activities there is Letter to a Future Student, where you remember something that you had to struggle to learn something, how that made you feel, and how you overcame the obstacles that you faced. Then, you write a letter to a "future student" giving advice about facing obstacles. The idea is that in a classroom the teacher would collect these letters, and then randomly give them out to the class again before a difficult test or other challenge. Maybe you might want to write a "letter to your future self" now that you can use to give yourself a boost when finals come around at the end of this semester!



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Carol Dweck on Being Perfect

Perfectionism is one of the biggest problems I see in academia, both among faculty and students, maybe even more so among faculty! I often describe myself as a recovering perfectionist. So, I really appreciate what Carol Dweck is doing in this talk, distinguishing between self-punishing perfectionism (ouch!) and the perfectionism that is all about striving and growth.






Failing Superman

This video is about shifting from one curriculum for all to a differentiated approach: people don't have to learn the same things at the same time with the same tools. We learn differently; we grow differently... and in this video, the idea of individual differences comes through with the metaphors of superheroes. It's also fun to see all the little superheroes trying to cope with traditional school!

What do you think: when you look at your growth as a learner, how did school help you, and how did school hold you back?



Marc-Andre Lalande is an educator in Canada, and you can find out more at his YouTube channel and at Twitter.





Growth-Minded Cultures

This is a very quick introduction (2 minutes) to growth mindset from Pomegranate Lab, focusing on how mistakes, struggle, feedback, and success contribute to the effort that leads to learning: Pomegranate Lab Intro.


You can find out more about Pomegranate Lab at their website. I follow them at Twitter!





Tuesday, December 8, 2015

English. Stay creative: listen to new music.

Today's cat is inspired by the "Stay Creative!" infographic below. The cat image is from cheezburgerHere are some more Stay-Creative Cats.


Stay creative: listen to new music.



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!






Sunday, December 6, 2015

English. Stay creative: go somewhere new.

Today's cat is inspired by the "Stay Creative" infographic below! The image is from cheezburger. Here are some more Stay-Creative Cats.


Stay creative: go somewhere new.



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!



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

English. Curiosity: the quest for new ideas and information.

This post is inspired by Jackie Gerstein's great blog post: The Future Belongs to the Curious: How Are We Bringing Curiosity Into School?

This particular quote is something Jackie cites which comes from Cultivating Curiosity in Our Students as a Catalyst for Learning by Maryellen Weimer: "Curiosity is the quest for new ideas and information. Folks who are curious aren’t satisfied with what they already know or have figured out. They go after what they don’t know or can’t understand—and that missing information can become a driving need to find out."

The image is from Cheezburger.

Curiosity: the quest for new ideas and information.


Friday, November 13, 2015

English: Success is about stretching yourself.

This is a quote from Carol Dweck's Mindset: "For children with the growth mindset, success is about stretching themselves. It's about becoming smarter."

The image is from cheezburger.

Success is about stretching yourself.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fall 2015 Update: Challenges for Weeks 8, 9, and 10

My last post covered Weeks 6 and 7 and part of 8, and in this post I'll finish up Week 8, plus Weeks 9 and 10. My guess is that as students start finishing up the class, I'll have fewer posts... but anyway, there will be at least one more post to document this semester's experiment, and maybe two. I'm labeling them: Fall15.

~ ~ ~

One of the growth mindset challenges is an "If I ran the school" question, and this student came up with a great idea for a "major exploration class" as a type of Gen. Ed., something preferable to Gen. Ed. classes in which students have no interest at all. And what was very useful for me was that I shared this post at G+ and it provoked a pretty intense discussion with some friends of mine there! So, I am especially grateful to this student for having provoked what was, for me, a very useful discussion about Gen. Ed. It is a topic we need to talk about more, much more, IMO.



And here's another post about how important personal interest is for learning, illustrated with the bliss cat: "After thinking about it and talking with my parents, I decided to switch to International Studies. I have thoroughly enjoyed my new major and no longer feel bogged down when I have to go to class or work on assignments. I think following your passions is a very important thing to remember. I think this is the only way you can truly put forth your best effort."


And another response to the "If I ran the school" challenge: "If President Boren were to ask me to name one thing to improve education it would be to have professors that want and love to teach. If the teachers are not willing to teach very well then that defeats the purpose of growth mindset." (Yep, I agree: it's hard being someone totally dedicated to teaching at a research university, and I'm not sure how many students are aware of how big a tension that is at a school like OU.)

As always, there were some good reading and writing experiments: One person experimented with doing the reading in a different place... with nice results! (I like the idea that outside is less stern than inside.) Another student experimented with a blend of music and writing.

This student is in a novel-writing class, and she used a cat meme to get going again after some writer's block: "Sometimes learning feels so difficult, it feels like struggling. But nothing truly worth anything in life is easy to obtain, is it? And then I remember my motivations, and I write one word at a time, like one step at a time, and I am moving forward out of that so-called "muddy middle!"


Several students wrote about time management challenges and setting priorities, like here and here, which included a link to a pretty scary infographic about the effects of sleep deprivation... it does not lead to growth, that's for sure! (The time challenge is something I really want to develop into an explicit theme in the class next semester; I've gotten some good ideas for that from people's posts.)

One student found a connection between the optimism of growth mindset and a theme of faith and hope in a Sunday sermon.

Growth mindset is a big part of not just training the mind but training the body too; here's a post about an inspiring marathoner.

I liked how this student found a fellow student to inspire her: "Below is a meme that reminds me of someone who inspires me. He is in medical school and has accomplished so many things. Not only is he book smart,  he also does a lot of mission work and goes on medical mission trips to help others. This is something I dream of doing one day. Now that I saw that he can do it, I know it is possible for me to accomplish my goals one day. This meme also reminds me to be genuinely happy for the success of others."


Another one of the challenges is sharing with someone else, and I loved this post about sharing with someone who was worried about grades: "This week, I was able to share the power of the Growth Mindset idea with someone else. They were really down about their grades as it is right after midterms here at OU. I was able to encourage her because I have been in that position, but also, I was able to tell her that failing grades are not defining of your identity or character! A grade of F can simply mean "not yet" and that is perfectly alright. She seemed to be more encouraged by my words at the end of our conversation so I really hope that I was able to help her in some small way!"

Another student cheered herself up with the cha-cha cat: "Have you ever studied so hard for an exam and you get your grade back like... womp, womp, womp. That happened to me this week. Though I am certain I will still make the grade I want, it still sucks. However, I saw this meme and it made me laugh and feel better."


And here's a nice post with some thoughts about trying harder, accompanied by one of the high-climbing cats!


I am pleased to report that people found/made some great memes and materials online, too, like the ones below; I am going to have such a good harvest of items to use in the class announcements next semester thanks to all the good things people have shared this semester!

One student made this lovely poster about ambition with Automotivator:


This comes from a student who is also working with young children; she's been using growth mindset to help her!


And here's a fun one: MUCH GROWTH SO MIND


In this post someone shared Praise, a video about Carol Dweck's research.


Embrace Risk: I loved this post from someone facing new challenges at her job.


Several different versions of the wonderful "fish and tree" meme showed up, and here is a presentation I had not seen before:


And here's a cat - a big cat this time:


This student was inspired by the Star Wars infographics about growth mindset: "It was interesting to think back to the movies and realize how each character's actions fit the growth mindset and static mindset perfectly. Yoda believed that any challenge could be conquered if you had faith in yourself. There was no fear in Yoda's character, only wisdom. On the other hand, Darth Vader lashed out on the Republic and took his feedback in a negative manner. It really made me think how a different way of thinking could have two completely different outcomes. In other words, the way I perceive myself and my efforts could make me a Yoda or a Darth Vader."




Finally, this is a graphic from a previous earlier week, but since several students chose it as their favorite item from Week 8 in their review posts, I thought I would share it again here... it really is fabulous!