• Growth Mindset Corner    # 1 October

    Dear Plains School Families,

    Throughout the school year, we will learn about our brains and brain malleability.  We will discuss how it is possible to strengthen our brains and become smarter.  We will learn to embrace challenges and mistakes and to praise process, effort, and perseverance rather than specific abilities or talents.  In doing this we will support the development of a growth mindset.    

    What is a growth mindset?

    Stanford University professor, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., developed the terms ‘growth mindset’ and ‘fixed mindset’ to describe how people view intelligence and learning.  Dr. Dweck’s research is focused on how and why people succeed.

    Growth mindset is the belief that intelligence and ability can be developed through the use of effective effort and effective strategies.  Value is placed on the process rather than the outcome.

    People with a growth mindset will embrace challenges, persist, and see effort as a way to improve.  They will learn from other people’s success, embrace learning new things, they will be resilient, see mistakes as an opportunity to try again, and learn from the mistakes.

    Fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence is something you are born with and it cannot be developed or changed.  People with a fixed mindset will avoid challenges because they are afraid of failing and “looking dumb”, will give up easily, and will see effort as a waste of time.  They will feel threatened by the success of others, see “looking smart” as most important, and see mistakes as the end of the road.

    Why is having a growth mindset important?

    When people learn they have the power to grow their brain and develop their intelligence, they are motivated to try harder, persist when challenged, and embrace opportunities to learn.  These actions lead to higher achievement.

    The combination of a growth mindset and effective effort will increase achievement.  Effective Effort is not only trying hard, it is making sure to focus and take the time necessary to do the work, trying many different strategies until you find one that works, asking for help, considering the opinions of others, and being persistent.

    How can I begin to promote the development of a growth mindset at home?

    The power of the word Yet tells our children that they are not simply good or bad at things.  Learning something new takes time and if they do not know how to do something or understand something at first, that is not the end of the story.  They just do not know how to do it or understand it Yet!  The gift of Yet is the gift of time.  Yet tells our children that they have time to learn from past mistakes and work through challenges using different strategies.  Yet tells our children there is more work to be done. Yet tells our children we believe in them.

    Process praise (in place of ability praise) is another way to encourage a growth mindset at home.

     You worked really hard on drawing that person.  You added a lot of body parts. What will you add next?

     (ability praise: You are a great artist.)

     You really tried a lot of different ways to solve that problem. You didn’t give up and you finally figured it out! Your brain is growing.

     (ability praise: You did it! You are so smart.)

    Check the Growth Mindset Corner in this newsletter each month for more information and resources!

     Happy October!

    -Gina Moulton



    Growth Mindset Corner


    Growth Mindset Corner                  #3 December

    Growth Mindset Children’s Books:

    • Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It  by JoAnn Deak Ph.D.


    • The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes  by Mark Pett  


    • The Most Magnificent Thing  by Ashley Spires   


    • Rosie Revere, Engineer  by Andrea Beaty


    • What Do You Do With A Problem?  by Kobi Yamada


    • What Do You Do With An Idea?  by Kobi Yamada


    • Ada Twist, Scientist  by Andrea Beaty


    • Beautiful Oops  by Barney Saltzberg


    • The Dot  by Peter H. Reynolds


    • Ish  by Peter H. Reynolds   


    • Not Yet  by Lisa Cox


    • When Sophie Thinks She Can’t  by Molly Bang                                                                    


    Growth Mindset Corner                 #4 January

    Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed your winter vacation. Here at Plains, we continue to work on building our growth mindset community. 

    This month I would like to share a link to a post I found, written by Sue Lively.  She has a blog called One Time Through.  This post includes Growth Mindset for Parents 101, a Growth Mindset Self-Assessment, and 10 Ways to Teach Growth Mindset.  This post is filled with tips, strategies, picture book ideas, and other resources to help reinforce growth mindset concepts at home.




    Growth Mindset Corner                 #5 February

    How to Explain Growth Mindset to Kids: Neuroplasticity Activities

    (Taken from the Big Life Journal Blog)

    Why Teach Neuroplasticity to Kids?

    When kids understand neuroplasticity, their perception of their own abilities also changes. It becomes much easier for them to understand growth mindset and embrace mistakes, obstacles, and challenges.

    What is Neuroplasticity?                                                                                

    Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and grow throughout a person’s life. Until recently, scientists thought that this was only possible in early childhood. After that, scientists believed that the brain “solidified” and became fixed in its habits. However, research has shown that the brain continues to change even into old age.

    Like a physical muscle, the brain gets stronger the more you use it. The brain is a “pattern-seeking device.” When the neurons in your brain are activated in a particular pattern, it’s faster and easier for your brain to follow that same pattern in the future.

    This means when you use your brain to complete a task, the brain “remembers” the task, so next time it becomes a little easier. The time after that, it’s even easier, and so on.

    The bottom line is that our brains aren’t static. Through repeated practice and continual challenges, we can build pathways that make our brains stronger and smarter.

    How to Teach Neuroplasticity to Kids:                                                                           

    Talk about their brain                                              

    Share amazing facts about the brain              

    Build a brain model Create a brain poster                                                                                                     

    Celebrate mistakes

    Brainstorm ways neuroplasticity has already worked for your child

    Read Fantastic Elastic Brain                                                                                       

    Create interactive visuals                                                                                               

    For more details, activities, posters, coloring sheets, and other helpful resources, check out BIGLIFEJOURNAL.COM