Sunday, September 27, 2015

Change Your Words - Change Your Mindset

Building and fostering a "Growth Mindset" doesn't happen overnight.  In Room 310 we have started the year with several activities to help inspire the idea that "intelligence can be developed" and that "you can learn anything through hard work and effort!"

On the first day of school we watched this video created by the Kahn Academy titled "You Can Learn Anything!"  Students viewed it once to enjoy, viewed it two more times to come up with a 'take away'.

The video really resonated with many students because they could directly relate to it. Students posted their thoughts on a sticky note which were displayed in the classroom.

Take a minute to watch the video to see what positive message you take away from it. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section of our blog! I know the students of Room 310 would love to see what you think.

Another day we watched another video where the idea of Growth Mindset was introduced. From this video we talked about the idea of  "Training Our Brain" to accomplish things we want to learn. This happened to coincide with International Dot Day so we completed an activity where we drew on a dot something we wanted to learn.

For the first school assembly we decided to share some words that will help change your mindset.  It was inspired by this TeachersPayTeachers bulletin board by Pinkadots Elementary. For the lesson students were given the Fixed mindset statements (I give Up; I'm not Good at this; This is too hard, etc) and asked to replace them with positive statements (I'll try my best; I'll keep working on this; With some effort I'll get this; etc).  Then students carouselled around the room and added more statements to each others' posters.

The final step in this process was to select some phrases that would be added to some homemade speech bubbles, which would then be presented to the school during the assembly.  Students worked hard and did a fabulous job presenting.

Training your brain doesn't happen overnight so we will continue the process of working towards a "Growth Mindset" throughout the year!  The ultimate goal is about 'Learning' and how we can do that best!


Feel like sharing your thoughts on Mindset?  Please leave a comment - my students would love to hear your ideas.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Building Stamina to Read

2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 15, 18, 20...Twenty Minutes (actually 20.41.4 minutes!)  The students have been working hard since the beginning of school to build their "stamina" during Read to Self time. By Friday of this week the class reached 20 minutes! I am so proud of their efforts. The goal for our class is to be able to be independent readers and to sustain their reading attention for 20-30 minutes. They are already on their way. 

 Building stamina takes time and training.  They have practiced finding a comfortable spot right away, stay in that one spot, read quietly the whole time and to respect others' learning while reading.  The training which began on the first day of school is hard work and students should be proud of their own efforts. 

The children understand that building stamina in reading is similar to running a marathon. You wouldn't just start by running 26.2 miles - you would gradually work your way up to it. This is what we are doing. We are 'training our brain' much like a marathoner would train their legs. There is a sense of urgency to become independent.  Once a student can read for a sustained amount of time, they are able to work on comprehension, accuracy, fluency and expanding their vocabulary.

One of the most important aspects of Read to Self time is that the students are reading books of interest to them. They also know that choosing a "Just Right" book is key in being able to read for extended periods of time. Students were giving the analogy: "If the Shoe Fits..." Ask your child about the "shoe lesson" that was presented in class.

Check out this presentation below that goes along with finding a book that is JUST RIGHT.

Students were asked to 'reflect' on the Building Stamina process in their journal. 
While some students said that it was an easy process for them some said it was a difficult activity. For those who thought it was 'easy' I responded that it must be that their 'brain muscles' have already been in that training mode while those who found it more difficult still need some practices.  Most all students shared that they were proud of their efforts and how they felt they worked hard.
Expectations for the upcoming week are high, and we hope to continue the 20 minute mark in Reading. This week we will also begin building stamina in writing! Becoming independent learners is a priority in Room 310!

Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts about Read to Self and Building Stamina!

Happy Reading!