It’s M-M-M Mindset Monday! That’s what the students at Walter Reed Middle School, in Studio City, CA, hear over the loudspeaker each week. And they pay special attention because it’s an announcement made by their fellow students.
What is Mindset Monday all about? And why do we do it?
I was inspired to start this student-led weekly announcement last year after attending a Growth Mindset training with some colleagues. After this 12 hour training, we took the idea of a growth mindset to all of our teachers: everything from professional development to inspirational short videos.
This student piece, however, has been the most rewarding result of the training. Sometimes kids will reference growth mindset in our class and I know that at least SOME of them have been listening and absorbing! The good news is there are so many stories of inspiration and grit out there. For instance, after the Superbowl, our students wrote about how the Patriots came back from a historically deep deficit to win at the last minute, never giving up.
There are endless ways to announce, model and reinforce this growth mindset idea. Give it a try, and remember, as my principal likes to remind us, we never fail, we only succeed, or we learn.
The announcement is followed by various tidbits of grit-style inspiration and growth mindset knowledge. For example, did you know that Lady Gaga was dropped from her record label after three months? Yet, because she persisted, she is now one of the most famous and successful artists of all time, having won multiple Grammys and being one of TIME’s most influential people. Other famous failures with the “never give up” type of success story include Einstein, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney and Oprah Winfrey. Our students love calling out these real-life examples and it really helps them understand the concept even more!
Beyond these vignettes, sometimes the students who make announcements will also explain the differences between a growth, a mixed, and a fixed mindset. These weekly reminders can be good for the middle school aged student who sometimes gets emotional and therefore, easily discouraged.
What do you do in your school to encourage students to challenge themselves every day?
Danielle Dagilis is a Nationally Board Certified teacher who works for the Los Angeles Unified School District. She has been teaching middle school for thirteen years. She is originally from Massachusetts and loves to tell her students that Tom Brady is her boyfriend!