New School Year= New Mindset

14 August 2015 / 7 comments

What if you could convince your students to keep trying? To never give up? Not to back away from a challenge? And to always give their best effort? What if you could teach your students that they have potential? And that mistakes are okay? That struggles lead to learning?

Sounds good, huh?

Creating this mindset ^ is my goal for this school year, well, and every year from now on. Sound lofty?

You know how you browse the internet while mindlessly watching something on T.V. I recently came across a video.Well, that video really caught my interest.  I just couldn't shake some of the things the lady speaking said. That video led me on an extensive internet search. I just had to find out more. That video then led me to a book. And eventually led me to a change in my thinking about my students, my teaching, and myself. It’s not often that you learn something that impacts your teaching for the rest of your career. This is one of those things.

The woman speaking was Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., and the title of the video was "The Power of Yet". She was teaching on mindsets and the power of yet. And what she was saying shook me to the roots of my “teacher” being. No joke. It was like a classic AHAAAAA! moment. To summarize her research: fixed mindsets lead to failure and growth mindsets lead to success. Even briefer (use your best caveman voice)- fixed mindset "bad" and growth mindset "good".

Here is a graph to help give you the basics of each mindset.

When I reflected upon myself, I realized I had a mixture of both mindsets. In some areas of my life, the growth mindset is absolutely embedded in my way of thinking. But in other areas, the fixed mindset ruled.

I started thinking about my students and their mindsets. I see so many students that fall into that fixed mindset category. They give up so easily. They don't try new things. They back away from challenges. How can I help them?

I came up with a plan- start the year off training my students in the growth mindset. I would teach my class about each mindset and why we needed to have the growth mindset. I also wanted to instruct them in what I feel are the "tenets" of a growth mindset.

I have had students for the last 2 weeks. We have spent a great deal of time learning about both mindsets. We are making this an ongoing conversation and integrating growth mindset “words” into our vocabulary. Even though it is early in the year, I feel it is making a difference. Even with me!

I started with a mindset survey and then some basics of the growth mindset.


We then reflected on our own mindsets.

I taught the students about brain research, neurons, and connections. We learned that our brains are like muscles- the more you work your brain, the more it grows. We also started embracing the power of yet. We wrote down things we couldn't do and then changed them into "YET" statements. I can't...yet!


Look what some of my students wrote on a math pretest! I was so excited!


Currently we are building a wall of growth mindset statements so we can keep our focus centered on the positive!

Check out my product on Teachers pay Teachers! Growing a Healthy Classroom Mindset  

Here is Dweck's video that started my journey.

If you would like to know more about the growth mindset, here are a couple of links to articles about Dweck's research and book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

What mindset are you?


  1. Juliet- Love this post! We just did some PD last week on Growth Mindset and the power of YET! Love it!

  2. I am loving teaching about the growth mindset! The kids are really catching on to the basics. Thanks so much for reading.

  3. I have just been accepted into our "leadership academy" in my school district and we will be reading "Mindset" and I'm really looking forward to it. Your post helped me realize that I can use what I learn with my own students. I love the poster on your SmartBoard "I Can't...Yet". Thanks for this post. I hope to read more about your journey as a "Growth Mindset Classroom"...

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

    1. You will absolutely be able to use what you learn with your students! I can't YET is the new slogan in my classroom.

  4. I really love this post. I started reading "Creating a Culture of Thinking." It talks about these mindsets as well! We are going to read it as vertical teams this year and I am hoping that we can incorporate some of the things that you are talking about.

    1. Oh! I will have to look that book up! Thanks for the tip!

  5. I love this post! Creating a Culture of Thinking was the first time I read about Dweck or mindsets. Then we spent some time learning about it in AVID training this summer. Your blog came at a perfect time for a little review before heading back to work. Sue


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