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Developing a Growth Mindset in young learners
Developing a Growth Mindset in young learners
19 Aug, 2017. 2 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Back to School, First Grade, Kindergarten, Reggio Inspired, STEM. Posted By: Kristen Smith

Hello everyone! We just finished our first week in the 2017-2018 school year and I have got to tell you, we had the most fabulous week. My students are so very sweet and kind and I am so excited about our upcoming year. One of my goals this school year is to help my students develop a growth mindset. Many times, our students will quickly say that they “can’t” do something or that it is “too hard.” This year, my plan is to help my students overcome this fixed mindset and practice using new verbiage, a new mindset, and give them a toolbox to pull from when they encounter a problem.

“I can train my brain to be fit and strong and to keep stretching and growing!” -Dr. Joann Deak

When someone has a growth mindset, they believe that they are constantly in progress. It is the intrinsic thought within that tells you that you are not quite done yet and that you are forever growing, changing, and making progress. This is how I want my students to approach tasks that are challenging, frustrating, or difficult. I want them to feel that no matter what, they can take on each challenge. My desire is that the young learners in my classroom would be fearless, confident, joy-filled, life-long learners.

On the contrary, when someone has a fixed mindset they believe that their abilities, thoughts, and skills are “fixed” and that they can’t do anything about them. It is the belief that there is little you can do to improve upon the skills you already have. My goal is that my students will know that they are always learning and growing.

To begin our journey in fostering a growth mindset, I read my class the book, “Your Fantastic Elastic Brain” by Joann Deak. It is such a fabulous book to use when introducing your students to how their brains work.

Developing a growth mindset in young learners

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Once I finished reading, I emphasized how amazing our brain is and re-read the sentences, “Making mistakes is one of the best ways your brain learns and grows. If you aren’t willing to risk being wrong, you won’t take the chances that STRETCH your elastic brain.”

I then told my students that in kindergarten, we are scientists and that we were going to do a science experiment to make pretend brains! (They were SO EXCITED!)

I took out my bag of materials and we got to work making brain slime!

Making brain slime to illustrate that we have a fantastic elastic brain. Making brain slime to illustrate that we have a fantastic elastic brain. Making brain slime to illustrate that we have a fantastic elastic brain.Making brain slime to illustrate that we have a fantastic elastic brain.

Once it was mixed, I carefully added the “secret ingredient” and it miraculously turned into BRAIN SLIME!

The kids were so excited and couldn’t wait to play with it.

Developing a growth mindset in young learners. This kindergarten student is playing with brain slime which illustrates that our brains are elastic and STRETCH.

As they were playing, I heard lots of, “Look!! My brain is growing! It’s stretching!”

This kindergarten teacher introduced her students to having a growth mindset by making brain slime. This kindergarten teacher introduced her students to having a growth mindset by making brain slime.

“I love this Miss Smith!” “Our brains are so cool!”

As the week progressed, “brain slime” was open during exploration centers and was frequently visited.

Developing a growth mindset in young learners. This kindergarten student is playing with brain slime which illustrates that our brains are elastic and STRETCH.

We have also been using the verbiage, “We are helping our brains stretch!” in our classroom and thanks to this activity, my students know exactly what we are talking about!

Developing a growth mindset in young learners. This kindergarten student is playing with brain slime which illustrates that our brains are elastic and STRETCH.

I love that through this play based activity, my students are internalizing concepts that will help them become successful, confident learners and that they are on their way to developing a growth mindset. They are excited to take on challenges, try new things, and to stretch their amazing brains.

This activity and many others are available in my growth mindset packet available on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can purchase it here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fostering-A-Growth-Mindset-In-Young-Learners-3334726

If your school year has begun, I hope that you are having a blast getting to know your young learners!

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2 Comments
  1. I love this! Many of my kids already like making and playing with slime, but comparing the slime to our brains is such a great way to explain the concepts of the growth mindset! Thanks for the great ideas!

  2. Sue -

    What a wonderful way to make this lesson real and understandable to students . Thoroughly engaging!

2 Comments

  • I love this! Many of my kids already like making and playing with slime, but comparing the slime to our brains is such a great way to explain the concepts of the growth mindset! Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Sue -

    What a wonderful way to make this lesson real and understandable to students . Thoroughly engaging!

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