Many students – and adults, too – think negatively about challenges and trying hard. Statements such as “I’m just not a math person” can come from self-defeating thoughts and a fixed mindset.
However, the second-grade students in Mrs. Amanda Brunetto’s classroom at Sheridan Terrace are learning to stick to it when the learning gets tough. They are working on developing their “growth mindset,” which is an understanding that effort makes them stronger, which leads to higher achievement.
Mrs. Brunetto won a $750 grant from the Norwin School District Community Foundation to run a yearlong project that teaches positive thinking and raises students' confidence levels when they are faced with academic and life challenges. It also provides hands-on science lab materials and challenges students to use their positive growth mindset to complete STEM task card challenges.
She won the grant last school year, and she is continuing to use the materials she purchased to have an impact in 2020-2021, the second year of the program. It is one of dozens of Educator Innovations Grants the Foundation has awarded to Norwin teachers during the past 10 years.
Growth Mindset skills and strategies are taught using children's literature and other hands-on activities. Students learn to use positive growth mindset language like, “I can’t do it – YET.” and “I will use my bubblegum brain to solve this problem!”
“This program helps students to learn how to take academic risks,” Mrs. Brunetto said. “It gives them the tools necessary to keep trying when an idea doesn't turn out the way they expected it to. This project is a yearlong program that allows students to grow and learn at their own academic and mental paces.”