When ClassDojo introduced this past year Growth Mindset lessons and activities I almost immediately saw ways that I could use Growth Mindset thinking alongside project-based learning.
For those that may not be familiar with ClassDojo: ClassDojo is a classroom behavioral management tool that teachers use to improve student behavior and also communicate with parents. I have been using it for three years now as a reward system. ClassDojo is used by other teachers at Hillside Academy as well.
Growth Mindset came about as a result of studies that showed that a student’s perceived abilities played a key role in their motivation and achievement. They found that furthermore if we could change the student mindset we could boost their achievement. Students who believe their intelligence could be further developed (a growth mindset) outperformed students who believed their intelligence was fixed (a fixed mindset).
Dweck, C. (2015, September 22) Carol Dweck Revisits the “Growth Mindset”
Now, when ClassDojo began to introduce mini lessons on Growth Mindset last year, I totally bought in and shared these lessons with my students, as I knew my students sometimes struggled with some of the project based units we do in Project Lead the Way. I have blogged earlier about the frustrations they sometimes feel when trying to solve real world problems when their knowledge base at five or six years old is very limited.
How so, you might ask? Well, a frustrated child often times just gives up.
- I can’t do it.
- I am not smart enough.
- I can’t figure it out.
- What’s wrong with me?
- Why are they successful and I am not.
The excuses and self-doubt go on and on. I see that on their faces and I hear it from their mouths.
My strategy now is that leading up to a project I will introduce Growth Mindset and use mini lessons presented with characters they know from ClassDojo. Of particular help for them I found was the mini lesson on The Magic of Mistakes. This is where the character Mojo continually makes mistakes trying to build a robot and eventually throws it away proclaiming “I just can’t do it”.
Well, mistakes are just steps along the way that can eventually lead to success. We exercise our brains by trying over and over again. The brain becomes lazy when we give up to early. The lesson tells us that we don’t learn things from doing easy things. We learn by exercising our brains to try and try again. That’s the message:
We learn from mistakes and it’s okay to make mistakes.
I usually follow that up with The Power of “yet”. When you think you can’t do it, remind yourself that you can’t do it “yet”. As a teacher I encourage them. ‘You might be struggling now, but you are making progress. I can see your growth.’ Words like this encourages and empowers them to keep trying.
ClassDojo has now partnered with Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence to introduce a series of lessons on mindfulness.
How can we manage our emotions to be a powerful force in our daily lives and not an overwhelming force that prevents us from accomplishing great things?