Social emotional learning skills help our students not only thrive in the classroom, but in their daily lives as well. These skills might not always be in the curriculum, but we absolutely have to spend time daily on these crucial abilities. Helping students have a growth mindset is one of the most important social and emotional skills out there and there are so many ways to teach it.
A growth mindset can transform a student’s approach to learning from “This is too hard, I can’t do it” to “I’m up for the challenge and I won’t give up!” When your entire class possesses thoughts like this, the whole environment transforms into a super supportive space where students cheer and challenge each other every day. In this post, you’ll learn some fun and engaging ways to teach this important concept! Let’s get to it!!
Class Dojo to the Rescue
I said fun and engaging ways right? Class Dojo is an AWESOME, super entertaining resource that is sure to bring knowledge AND fun! This Class Dojo video series is a FREE, quick, and wonderful resource to teach about what it means to have a growth mindset. The series sparks thoughtful and meaningful discussions amongst students and all the videos are less than 5 minutes, so it’s a great hook to begin each day’s lesson!
Growth mindset is a concept that is ideally taught and introduced at the beginning of the year and revisited throughout the year when students may (and most likely will) need a reminder. When teaching this concept, I like to start off each daily growth mindset lesson with one of these videos. There are 5 videos so it’s perfect for a week long growth mindset lesson. We also always revisit these videos after winter break as a great reminder of how to shift to our growth mindset.
What’s great about Class Dojo is that the growth mindset skill isn’t the only concept they teach! They have a whole Big Ideas series with tons of important skills including: empathy, perseverance, mindfulness, and so much more! Such a great resource to use in every classroom.
Check out this engaging activity below that pairs perfectly with the Class Dojo videos. Help students train their brain to have a growth mindset!
Mentor Texts for the Win!
When teaching social emotional skills, I like to include children’s literature to help emphasize the point. Using mentor texts to supplement teaching growth mindset is only right and there are SO many wonderful books out there to help teach this concept. Below you’ll find a list of my favorites!
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The Power of Yet
I left my favorite book for last, Giraffes Can’t Dance, for good reason. I absolutely LOVE using this book to share about the power of yet and to help us set goals for what we can’t do YET! This particular concept is huge in learning to have a growth mindset because every single thing we do that is new, is going to take time. During that time, we may feel as though we’re failing or the skills will never come but insert the power of YET, and anything becomes possible, in time.
During our week of explicitly learning about growth mindset, we spend time reading this fantastic book and completing TONS of growth mindset activities. After reading the book, we brainstorm things we can do YET, but want to learn. Their answers ALWAYS blow me away! Kids have big dreams and goals and we simply have to ask about them so we can help encourage and support them during the process of meeting them. Check out this chart that gets hung up and referred to as we set our goals and begin learning about the power of YET!
Students then reflect on what they already know and what they want to know! It’s so awesome to hear them pour out their prior knowledge and really think about some realistic goals to strive for.
After reflecting, we are ready to set goals for the semester! This sheet stays in an accessible space to be added to or altered as we work towards our goals!
End the week by completing a fun goal setting writing craft that also makes the PERFECT bulletin board!
The CAN DO Motto
In our classroom we use the phrase, “We Are Can Do Kids”. Whenever someone is struggling and uses that dreaded word “CAN’T”, we chant instead “WE ARE CAN DO KIDS!” They love it and it really helps motivate them. The motivation comes from knowing the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset. When they say they can’t, they understand that their brain is fixed into thinking there’s nothing they can do. But with a GROWTH mindset, understanding the power of YET, and peers cheering you on, students will feel that there’s nothing they CAN’T do.
Teaching about growth vs. fixed mindsets can really help not children recognize when they are holding themselves back from pushing through hard things. When you carry out explicit lessons on this topic, it empowers students to overcome the fixed mindset, and it allows them to practice with scenarios while providing positive sentence stems. Check out this sort we complete together that is a great exercise to bring forth deep conversations about the differences between fixed vs. growth mindsets.
After we’ve had this practice time together, students are ready to take this on with some partner and independent activities!
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Growth mindset is a daily practice and it’s something that hopefully your student’s carry on into adulthood. In order for them to practice it daily though, we have to get creative in activities so it stays fresh in your student’s minds! I’ve created some engaging activities to help reinforce the concept of growth mindset just for YOU and I know your students will LOVE them!
First up, is a Trace and Read book because reading of course! Allow your kids to feel like the author of their own growth mindset book as they trace the positive affirmations throughout the pages! Once they are finished, they can color to make it theirs and it’s a PERFECT addition to their daily materials as something to read as a reminder whenever they need it. If you love this, you can grab it for FREE below!
Grab this free resource now!
The next activity is one that can help students learn about encouragement, communication, support, perseverance, and positive affirmations! Kids play by: Taking turns rolling the dice and answering the questions. There are 3 different versions included for students to get to know one another a little better and understand each other a little deeper.
Last but not least, is the Anatomy of a Growth Mindset! This is a fun sorting activity to help students understand what a person that truly has a growth mindset looks like. They will have fun sorting, cutting, gluing, and coloring this engaging activity.
Celebrate the Shift
Having a growth mindset is a BIG mindset shift! So why not celebrate all the hard work?! Below you’ll find some fun ways for students to celebrate all the things they’ve learned about having a growth mindset. Put their work on display with this bulletin board set and let them strut their stuff with these crowns to show off all the growth they’re continuing to make!
Your students will have a blast learning about growth mindset with the Growth Mindset Activities Pack!
Social Emotional Learning Matters
Like with any skill you’re teaching primary students, you have to EXPLICITLY teach and model it. They need you to model what it looks like, what it sounds like, what it doesn’t look like, etc. The skills you cover are going to be what your students need. Do they need help with being better friends to each other? Do some students simply need their own space and self-managing strategies to help deal with their emotions? Maybe they have no idea how to manage conflicts. Some of them might not know how to deliver a genuine apology. It’s quite possible that the entire class could use a lesson on growth mindset and making good choices. Or maybe they learned about something that triggered empathy and they wanted to explore that more. There are so many skills that will need to be taught, but there are so many strategies that can be used to tackle them. With great resources you can set your students up for success. Check out these gems to help student’s practice in your classroom and learn more about how to use them HERE!
Once you have the classroom shift of having a growth mindset you will LOVE the changes you see in your students. My favorite is when I hear students having a hard time and they give themselves a positive affirmation to keep going. It’s even more sweet when a friend helps them out with one! Both are truly magical sights to witness that you don’t want to miss out on!
I really hope you enjoyed learning about how to teach your students to have a growth mindset! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! Not only will you get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES including the Growth Mindset Mini Book FREEBIE! You will also have exclusive access to tons of digital how-to videos! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
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