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This letter is written by a middle school student, Ellie, who attends a school that is cultivating growth mindsets through staff development, Brainology lessons, and other site-wide efforts. The student insightfully shares HER growth mindset journey.
Ellie discusses what it is like to try to change your own mindset, and gives us a view into the mind of a really terrific kid.
Dear Mr. O,
This isn't another concern letter, I just wanted to share with you what has gone on academically in my life lately. In wellness class, science, and many other of my classes all I have heard is growth mindset, growth mindset, and growth mindset. In reality, I haven't really thought, "Wow, I can get through this problem with my growth mindset!" In wellness, I always think that my life doesn't truly depend on a growth mindset to get around. I mean, yeah, every once and a while I get a really bad score, and might need to get my growth mindset helmet on.
Thank you educators for sending in your growth mindset strategies!
Grading and Assessment for a growth mindset was a common theme in your responses to our last newsletter. Many teachers wrote in about how they have innovated to create growth mindset assessment practices! We are pleased to share Rebecca Davenport's tip from Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, TN:
"My middle school girls and I coined the phrase "I'm a girl, not a grade!" to remind them of all the wonderful parts of their lives that cannot be measured by a letter grade. In school, it is easy for students to attach too much worth to the outcomes and final grades; this underestimates the importance of the learning process. When students reflect on the most important parts of their lives, they begin to understand that they are not C+ or A- people, but bright and capable young women.
"Some schools actually grade students on Growth Mindset and grit. At Lenox, it doesn't make it to report cards, but kids do get evaluated on it, by other kids."
Exciting news for growth mindset schools! Tovia Smith, NPR news correspondent, visited Lenox Academy, a school in Brooklyn teaching Brainology, and talked with students, teachers and administrator Joe Giamportone.
Maine Middle School teacher shares a growth mindset classroom moment.
One of the students in my special education class received the highest score possible on her mainstream health class test and was the only one to get a perfect score. She told me early in the year that she has "a third grade brain" and has "triple brain damage" due to traumatic events early in her life. Frequently, she was too discouraged to try anything she thought was going to be too hard. When she shared her great news about the test score, I asked her how she had accomplished such an impressive result. She let me know that she had studied really hard and that she could feel her dendrites growing. Then she shared a short song she had made up about learning and growing dendrites!
If you have a story to share, enter the Growth Minded Educator Contest this month!
How did a public school increase their number of honor roll students by 15% in one year? In our August newsletter, Charles Patterson Middle School Principal Jill Balzer shared how her students had achieved significant improvements in test scores and academic abilities following the school-wide adoption of mindset practices and the implementation of the Brainology program.
Last month, Jill and her school were recognized by the Texas School Business Bragging Rights publication for the improvements they’ve made, which Jill attributes to their creation of a Growth Mindset school culture. Each year, this publication, which has over 25,000 readers, receives nominations from hundreds of schools so this is a great achievement. Please join us as we congratulate Jill Balzer and her teachers, staff and students for their hard work!