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Mindset Book Study: Chapter 3

It’s time for chapter 3 of our book study on the book Mindset by Carol Dweck.  
I am teaming up with Abigail from Kindergarten Chaos to host this book study!

And this week’s chapter host is one of my best friends, Chad from Male Kindergarten Teacher!

Chapter 3 is all about ability and accompolishment and I had some pretty powerful AHA moments that already have me rethinking and planning some changes for my classroom.  
Here are my three take aways from chapter 3…
Dweck describes this “syndrome” as doing things as easily as possible so we don’t have to work very hard.   As soon as I read that name and description, one work popped into my brain and wouldn’t go away:
WORKSHEETS!   
If you have followed me for a while you know how I feel about the worksheets.  And if you’re a worksheet lover, I hope you’re not offended.  But I do hope you’ll think about ditching those worksheets.
Let’s think about it.  We have a class full of eager learners.  We can run to to the copier and make 54,000 copies a month of worksheets (FYI that is not a RANDOM number…it’s the amount of copies made in a month at a school…TRUE STORY) and keep our kids quiet and busy.   That’s very low effort.  We didn’t have to work very hard and we’re getting by.   But what will our kids learn?  Will they love learning?  Will they enjoy school?   
Pretty sure the answer to those questions is a big fat NO!
Or we can take the high effort (growth mindset) approach to teaching and find hands on, creative, out of the box ways to teach our kids.  Does it take a lot of time and work and effort to come up with engaging, hands on lessons?  Absolutely.   Is being an out of the box teacher hard work?  Yep.  But the rewards are so worth it.  Will our kids learn?  Will they love learning?  Will they enjoy school?
The answers to those questions is a big fat YES!
So, are we going to be a high effort teacher or are we falling victim to the low effort syndrome?
PEOPLE DITCH THE WORKSHEETS!!!  PLEASE!  I BEG YOU!!!!!!!
In fact, Mr. Greg and Jen Jones from Hello Literacy give you permission!
(I snagged this from Jen’s IG account because it’s PERFECT for this post!)
On page 64, this quote felt like a lightning bolt hitting me in the behind…
“…there’s a lot of intelligence out there being wasted by underestimating students’ potential to develop.”
Are we wasting our student’s potential by setting our expectations to low??
Wherever we set the bar for our students, that’s where they will go.  If we set that bar sky high, they will go sky high!  If we set that bar at the ground floor, that’s as they’re going.
We need to raise the bar for our students so we can tap into their full potential.  
It is time that we get out from behind excuses and worksheets and raise the expectations for students so they can be all that the want to be.   And it’s high time we stop using the words:  “…THESE KIDS…”   These kids could be the next Einstein or Bill Gates or President.  These kids are my kids.  These kids are just as deserving and capable and full of potential as any kid.  THESE KIDS can succeed and learn IF WE TEACHERS are doing our jobs.
But we also need to look at the expectations we’re setting for ourselves as teachers.  Are we setting the bar high enough?   Do we have high expectations for our teaching and planning?   Or are we setting ourselves up for failure with low expectations.  
If our students are struggling, then we have to ask ourselves some questions:
“How can I teach them?”  (Not CAN I teach them…)
“How will they learn best?”  (Not CAN they learn…)
Raise the bar for yourself.  Set high expectations for the new school year and use your growth mindset to meet and exceed those expectations.  Imagine the difference we can make by raising the expectations for our own teaching!
The section on praise and positive labels was downright astounding to me.  Dweck has found that praising kids can actually lower their achievement because it pushed them into the fixed mindset.
Dweck says we need to praise kids for their effort and not their ability.
I think back to my friend Fire Drill and how she worked until February to learn to write her name.  I remember how much I praised her effort every day as she worked on those letters.  I can remember the celebrations when she finally wrote the S the right way by herself the first time.  I wonder if I had praised her ability to write an S instead of praising her efforts every day, would she have learned to write her name?
This also reminds me of one of the lessons I brought back from my trip to the Ron Clark Academy and something I worked very hard on during the last few months of school.  Make praise specific.  I know that’s a no brainer.  But it’s hard and easily forgotten.  I am so guilty of saying “Good job, Daniel!” and Danie wonders off not knowing what he did a good job one.  Did he do a good job writing or drawing or walking to my table (or in his case…did he do a good job of cussing…).   I made it a goal to give specific praise.  “I like how you used a period in your sentence.”   “I like how you’re facing forward in line.”   “I like how you’re using your sounds on that word.”   When I used specific feedback,  I saw a noticeable improvement in my classroom.
So, remember to praise the efforts of your students.  No matter how big or small.  That praise will keep them motivated to keep trying and learning and growing.
And make your praise specific!
It’s all about hard work and dedication!!!!  With hard work and dedication we can achieve anything!!
Make sure to leave comments with your thoughts from chapter 3.  And link up your posts below!

Also, I will be LIVE on Facebook tonight discussing chapter 3!  Not sure of the time because I’m traveling to do PD so keep an eye out!

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