I remember my struggles as a student who wished to be invisible in the classroom, and grew up thinking that I can never be smart enough as my grades were below average. My teachers did encourage me sometimes, but it didn’t make sense as nothing brought my grades up. I gave up! I didn’t have Mojo as a friend to tell me that if I don’t know it yet, I just have to try harder or try it differently.
The Growth Mindset series from ClassDojo helps me as a teacher encourage my students in ways that I wish my teachers had supported me. So when I saw Chapter 1 for the first time, I was literally jumping with joy as this is exactly what I needed to help my students explore their potential as learners. We watched the videos and went over the discussion questions, but I felt something was missing. I needed to make this idea come to life in my classroom. As trees are a universal symbol of growth, I decided on the idea of a Growth Mindset Tree this back to school, to start off the new year.
In the month of September, we watched all five chapters one by one and took up the discussion questions. At the end of each chapter the students wrote one sentence reflections on the leaves. I asked my students to focus on the main idea of the chapter, along with capitalization and punctuation of a sentence. They said things like, “When I think I can’t understand, I just can’t understand YET, but I will later” and “Your brain can grow by giving it new challenges.” Parents were involved too as I shared the videos on Class Story. Pretty soon, our tree was ready for Meet the Teacher Night (Open House) on September 28th!
Now that the tree is complete, I refer to it so many times in class. I talk about it when we are learning new concepts to encourage the students to try harder especially during the learning of math. Math can easily be the scariest subject for many students as the results to the problems are either right or wrong. So the favourite phrase in our class is, “I don’t know it yet.” It is so gratifying to see students motivated to continue to try another time, and challenge their brains as that’s how you get smarter…that’s what Mojo said! The growth mindset tree is the best feature of our classroom, and I want to keep it up for the month of October. In November, I plan to celebrate season 2!