As I mentioned last time, I am really happy that any students at all are doing the growth mindset challenges because they are "extras" on top of the regular reading and writing for this class. In Weeks 4 and 5, four new students tried doing growth mindset challenges who had not done them before, so that is encouraging — if there are just a couple of new students each week who give this a try, I will be pleased! So far, one-third of the class has tried at least one growth mindset challenge since learning about growth mindset back in the first week. In addition to completing the actual growth mindset challenges, students will sometimes mention growth mindset in other posts for the class (like here, here, here, here and here) which I think is great to see, and it also means more students in the class might catch the idea that way as well.
And now, here's the good part: highlights from the growth challenge posts the students wrote over the past couple of weeks! You can see the stream here: Growth Posts.
Learning More. This great post is a student's response to an article by Nicholas Provenzano: Creativity in the Classroom. I agree very much with her closing comments here: "I really admire this teacher for investing so much of his time and resources to encourage creativity in his students. Nowadays, school curriculum focuses mainly on passing standardized exams and maintaining a high GPA. How can anyone be creative when students are taught to think the same? Study this book. Pass the test. Move forward. Does a score on an exam really define an individual? Why must we quantify everything? Several questions popped into my head as I read the article, but my main question is why aren't more educators teaching growth mindset?"
I shared her post with Nicholas Provenzano at Twitter (he's one of those Twitter celebrities I have never interacted with before!), and he was very pleased as you can see:
This is awesome! Thanks for sharing. ☺️ https://t.co/uhpMdbxuJZ— Nicholas Provenzano (@thenerdyteacher) October 3, 2015
The Power of Yet. This student is using the "power of yet" to try to manage her anxiety about an accounting class: read her post. I think that's great; I don't learn well at all when I am under stress, and I am sure that is true for others as well. Using the power of "yet" and positive self-talk to shift from a focus on grades to the learning itself seems like a great strategy to me! She included this funny grumpy cat meme in the post too. I know there are classes out there that do make people cry, but a meme can be a humorous antidote, and humor is very good for relieving stress.
And for the "power of yet" this student created a motivational poster as her challenge:
Make a Meme. Many of the students are making dog memes since, of course, there is already a steady supply of cat memes from yours truly. So here is a meme with a Saint Bernard puppy; she used a tool called GroupMe which is new to me, so I learned something new too (it's a group text message app). Here is what she says about her meme: "My meme says "Big Dreams Start with Baby Steps." I chose this caption because people tend to forget that there was always a beginner before there was an expert. The hardest part of any challenge is actually starting it. My brother has always told me that once you get past the beginning, then the hardest part is over. I'm the type of person that is afraid of change, but I always need change. It's complicated. I believe that everyone should have a dream or something that excites you. Chase after that dream even if it seems impossible. All it takes is determination, passion, and some baby steps."
Editing Challenge. One student had a story that was really long (really really long), and so I suggested she use the growth mindset challenge as an opportunity to practice some new kinds of revising focused on shortening the story to make it really sharp and focused. She had a very positive experience with that, even though it was an "outside of the comfort zone" writing experience for her (here is her post), and based on her good experience with that, I added the "revising challenge" to the growth mindset challenge list, in addition to the writing challenge that was already there.
Another student used this meme as a prompt for reflections about school: "You have the students that may have a better sense of what to do in the job force, but because I may have a higher GPA in a field than they do (because they may be bad at taking tests, but, in fact, they are much more well-versed in the material than I) I may get the job over them. I believe that there is a problem with our school system, but also a problem with what we tell students their priorities should be."
Growth Mindset... Seen Elsewhere. I am really excited when I hear from students about intersections with growth mindset elsewhere. This student wrote about seeing a growth mindset poster that came through her Facebook feed this week, and she saved it and shared it in her blog: "This reminded me of my struggle to change my mindset when it comes to my classes and even though this is made for elementary aged school children, I found the signs really helpful!"
Successful Experiment. Finally, some observations from a student's "famous last words" post, a self-reflection post that they can write each week. This post alone makes the growth mindset experiment this semester totally worth it: "My favorite assignments for this class are the growth mindset posts. I like to explore more about growth mindset. Believe it or not, it has affected my life more than I can imagine."