#Mindset by Carol Dweck

September 12, 2014 2 comments

The book mindset reminded me of talking to a friend. The simplicity and flow of stories created an easy book about a fascinating topic. In Mindset, Carol Dweck discuss the study in psychology of people’s own beliefs have power.  Her definitions of the two mindsets is perfect: “Believing that your qualities are carved in stone – the fixed mindset- creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over.” “This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.” That doesn’t mean that anyone can be a classic violinist, but it does mean that the possibilities of what we can create are unknown.

Carol Dweck discusses that the same person can have a growth mindset at certain mindset, but a fixed mindset at work. She asks “When do you feel smart: when you’re flawless or when your learning?” Growth mindset people thrive in challenges, whereas fixed mindset people thrive on success.

NASA believes there is potential for those who have had significant failures and bounced back from them. They have rejected applicants for astronauts who have a pure history of success. A famous ballet teacher, Marina Semyonova, selected her students based on those who were energized by criticism.

John McEnroe had a fixed mindset and ended up blaming others for mistakes that he made. Michael Jordan had a growth mindset. He didn’t even make his middle school basketball team and he worked hard to develop his abilities.

The movie “Groundhog Day” is the perfect example of someone with a fixed mindset who after many, many repeated days realizes that he can change and has a growth mindset at the end of the movie. Carol Dweck believes you can change. It is not that all growth mindset people are high achievers. But they learn from their mistakes and know that they can try to grow. “The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome.”

This mindset theory has implications for the educational world. Think of Jaime Escalante (of Stand and Deliver fame) who took his students and taught them Calculus. Think of Marva Collins who worked with inner-city Chicago kids. She taught second grade and had her students reading fifth grade reader and authors such as Shakespeare, Poe, Frost and Dickinson. Teachers need to believe that all students can grow. In today’s fast changing educational climate, teachers need to believe that they themselves can grow.

The growth mindset believes that success is when we are learning and improving, they want to take charge of the process that brings and maintains success. But for the fixed mindset success is superiority and these people blame others when success does not find them. Fixed mindset people look for their ability and talent to make you successful. They do not take control of motivation or ability.

The relationship chapter made me laugh a little because the fixed mindset people seem to think “If you have to work at it, it wasn’t meant to be.” I have known so many people who believe that.  So crazy!  I also like “My partner should know what I think, feel, and need…”   Shyness usually is worse for fixed mindset people because they are more concerned with judgement.  Along with this most bullies seem to be fixed mindset because they get a boost of self-esteem. To help this in schools, we must create an atmosphere of collaboration and self-improvement, not one of judgment.

As parents and teachers every word we say can give them the fixed or growth message. Do you want your children or students to believe they have permanent traits and they are being judged or  that they are a developing person? Loved this quote from the author “you know, in France, when they’re nice to you, you feel like you’ve passed a test. But in Italy, there is no test.” That is the difference between growth and fixed. As adults we need to encourage that “skills and achievement come through commitment and effort.” The book also states that “the great teachers believe in the growth of the intellect and talent, and they are fascinated with the process of learning.”  “Fixed minded teachers often think of themselves as finished products. Their role is simply to impart their knowledge.” Growth minded teachers LOVE LEARNING and a good way to learn is to try to teach someone else.

The coaches she talks about are: Bobby Knight for the fixed and John Wooden for the growth. With the growth mindset you look at each lose with the idea that you can learn and improve.  With the fixed, it means that something was wrong. Many believe success lulls you into complacency. Failure helps you get better.

I wish I could just read this book to my students and fellow teachers. It is an amazing book, with many significant connections to teaching. There might be more to come. I see they have a Brainology website at http://www.mindsetworks.com/. Check it out if you have time.

One Idea is for Schools to ask all teachers to read pages 164-206, which is about teaching and coaching.

Mystery Skype #mysteryskype

September 7, 2014 Leave a comment

This month at Woodmen-Roberts we will be participated in a Mystery Skype call with ?????. Our 2nd grade class will be the first ones to try it on Tuesday. The way this works is we call and try to guess where they are in the world. They will ask us Yes/No Questions to determine where we were located (just the state). We then will ask them Yes/No Questions to determine where they were from. We divided the students in groups and each had a different task. Some were Google Mappers, Atlas, Fact Recorders, Photographers (to document our lesson), Greeters/Speakers, and Runners to keep everyone informed of the developments. I have sample questions for the States and the World. Typically, at the beginning of the year, I reserve 40 minutes to an hour for a call. Once students are used to the routine, it is more like 20-30 minutes. This is an amazing 21st Century Lesson. The children are always engaged and excited and they loved learning geography.

How can you get involved? Go to one of these sites where you can sign up:





Happy Skyping!

If you haven’t had a chance to set up a Mystery Skype, I have other classes interested and there are lots of great ideas for this on the web.

Reflection on Impact of Generation Y

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

The discussion about Generation Y teachers and administrators really interested me because the ideas presented here are similar to Don Tapscott’s book “Growing Up Digitally”. Mr. Tapscott did extensive research as to what he calls the “Net Generation” are looking for. The common qualities of this generation are freedom, customization, scrutiny, integrity, collaboration, entertainment, speed and innovation.  In our text, Ronald Rebore discusses that one of the most important characteristics is “the desire to trust in authority”.  Don Tapscott discusses this phenomenon when he discusses integrity. This generation would rather work for a company or boss who is honest. They are sympathetic with honest mistakes, but will not tolerate harmful practices or deception.  The Generation Y are not only interested in company practices, they are more concerned about the environment than other generations.

In the text, Ronald Rebore also discusses the value this generation places on education. I agree with this and I think Don Tapscott would also, although his research showed that education is one of the social institutes that the net generation will influence. With the influx of technology into their lives, this generation wants to learn how to learn. They can find most facts anywhere on the Internet. They want to know how to decipher what facts are true or false. We are in an information-based economy and students must now how to analyze and connect it to their own lives. In “Creating Innovators” by Tony Wagner, Wagner discusses how students are learning outside of schools because of the restrictions that education puts on our students. Although I agree with Rebore that they value education, I am not sure the type of education that they value is currently part of the school day. Learning occurs when these students go online to find a YouTube video in order to learn how to make a meal or see a skateboard trick.  It is not learning about the 13 original colonies.

Affirmative Action in Schools

August 24, 2014 Leave a comment

From Kindergarten through 12th grade, I attended public schools then I went to an all-girls Catholic liberal arts college (not many of those left). I thrived in the same-sex environment. As a philosophy major, we questioned everything. The teacher talked about the fact that in an ideal society same-sex schools would not be needed. But in a society where boys and girls alike are afraid or embarrassed to participate when the opposite sex is around, can same sex education still be a benefit? Affirmative action in many ways is to help us get to the ideal society that is just and fair. In the ACLU “Who Supports Affirmative Action?” pdf, Martin Luther King, Jr is quoted with the same belief of using affirmative action now so that at some point we no longer need affirmative action. I truly believe that students should see themselves reflected in their community. Right now, we need affirmative action to make that a reality. In Ferguson, Missouri, the police force consists of a majority of white officers, yet their community is primarily non-white (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/08/14/where-minority-communities-still-have-overwhelmingly-white-police/). Don’t our students need those teachers as role models who are diverse?

In my school, I organize many global projects with my students. One comment that has become consistent is the minority students identifying with the diverse population that are at the other schools we communicate with. Diversity and perspective helps our students learn to be open-minded.

Happy Video #globalclassroom #flatconnect #pypchat

August 22, 2014 Leave a comment

At Woodmen-Roberts Elementary last year, all 2nd through 5th grade students connected through national and global connection projects. Every month I virtually met with my global PLN (myglobalfriends.wikispaces.com)  to discuss activities that were meaningful to the teachers and students. Some of the activities WRE were apart of included Quad Blogging, Mystery Skype, Global Read Aloud, CA vs. CO Gold Rush Skype discussion and an Earth Day Video. At the end of the year, a fun video seemed appropriate, Ms. Livingston’s 4th Grade Class joined this project.


Pedagogical Leadership Notes #pypchat

August 19, 2014 Leave a comment

The Pedagogical Leadership session in July was taught by Kelly Meridian, coordinator at a public charter school K-6 in Texas, and and Jane Wisner, who helped open Academy International Elementary School, the first public Primary Years Programme (PYP) school in United States. These leaders modeled good pedagogy by having us learn through activities. Here are my rambled notes:

We started our first day to get to know each other by going to the four corners depending on how you answered questions about how long you had been in the PYP, what was your position in PYP, and what training you had already completed. As we were in each of the corners we introduced ourselves to the other people in our group. We then took a sheet of paper out and wrote six words to describe yourself. I wrote: Passionate Healthy Global Connected Techie. Of course, no one noticed and announced that I choose only 5 words – I am a risk-taker.

Struggling as the leader can help our students and teachers. We can model learning from our failure. When we fail we always learn, but many people don’t learn from their successes.

Essential Agreements can be developed using the key concepts. Ask the questions from the key concepts to determine how to create the essential agreements.

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.International-mindedness means that a student that embodies the Learner Profile
Concepts, Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, Action = Calvin Klein Sells Awesome Apparel.The written curriculum encompasses the five essential elements.The assessed curriculum encompasses pre, post, self-reflection, peer evaluation, self evaluation, summative, formative, etc. Approaches to Learning will be the trans skills.Thinking, Social, Communication, Research, Self-Management.

Suggestion: before each staff meeting, have them read a document from IBO.

ACTIVITY Use What is an IB Education as a jigsaw activity. Ask individuals to read one section of the article and take a phrase to describe the section. Then have all the staff who read that section and agree on what they think the section encompasses. We then share out with everyone.

Suggestion: “Why are school buses yellow?” as a book study

We then discussed how policy is what needs to happen, non-negotiable and procedure is how to do something.

ACTIVITY: Read standards A, B, C. List any burning questions or concerns for implementation of the standards in your section. in your 1/4 quadrant. When done, discuss with your table partners. In center list one most urgent question/concern from each participant in your group. The burning questions can become part of the action plan. Standard A is district or whole school. Standard B is about administrative support. Standard C is the teacher or curriculum questions.

In Texas IB is considered a Gifted Program. They don’t have gifted programs. They all will be treated as gifted students. The IB model for students is all inclusive. There should be no pull outs. If there are pull outs, and she is teaching Math, it should not be when Math is taught in the classroom. It must be supplemental. Students can not be assessed by someone other than their teacher of record.

When teaching inquiry, the students need to ask their own questions, then classify them with the 8 key concepts. Suggested activity to learn the key concepts is to use a circle in the middle with their name, then create 8 key conceptual questions to describe themselves.

Ted Talk “Weird or Just Different” – at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K5SycZjGhI – How does this relate to our attitudes and learner profile?

If you look at cultural awareness as an iceberg, above the water would consist of cuisine, dance, dress, fine art, games, literature, drama, music. Below the water consists of: Conceptions such as self, past, future, beauty, justice, cleanliness, status mobility. Definitions of sins, sanity and insanity. Notions of childhood, adults, marriage, family, leadership. non-verbal communication – eye contact, facial expressions, body language. Patterns – relationships. Rules – social interaction.

Learner Profile bulletin board – where you display kids photos who are displaying the profile. The problem with the skater dude is what if I do not relate to that representation, does that mean I can’t have those attributes?

IDEA: Early finishers – centers have a spanish activity, possibly on the iPad.

IDEA: When students travel to other countries, please buy a book in their language.

IDEA: 5th grade class teacher teaches American Revolution, kids get to inquire about any revolution. Music, or Non-violent, or anything.

IDEA: Research based on the Key Concepts, students develop their research questions based on a couple of the key concepts.

ACTIVITY: Snowball fight: Take a piece of paper and write what you have learned, make it into a ball and throw it, then throw two others, when everyone has thrown three, pick one up and share out loud. Snow ball fight for what you have learned

IDEA: When we do a book study, teachers need to read when it was silent reading time.

ACTIVITY: Speed-dating at staff meeting, then the Exploratories can MARRY that planner, they collaborate with one unit of inquiry.

ACTIVITY: Who We Are Staff Meeting – each grade level will present what they do during that planner. Discuss what is working, not working. Ask: are we increasing complexity? Repeat for other Units.

page 13 of Making the PYP in Ped Led has a good chart.
IDEA: review the increase, decrease tables in Making the PYP Happen and share with staff

IDEA: Looking at the planners, ask “what are the inquiries?” “What are kids asking?”
IDEA: Walk-About Day – once a semester or more and everyone knows that everyone will be walking about. Then add a note to the door about what good things they saw.

ACTIVITY: Create a T chart with Challenges and Evidence of it happening for C1 – collaborative

ACTIVITY: With staff look at the requirements for CENTRAL IDEAS in Making the PYP, and then look at someones Central idea to determine if it is a good one. IN teams do the same thing. Make sure there is a lot of questioning, questions on p41 Making the PYP. be patient, ask individuals to use a post it to give their own ideas.

ACTIVITY: Straws and paper clips – three different groups, DIRECT Instruction, GUIDED Instruction
My observations: Jane asked them to open a paper clip up, take any color straw and insert paper clip so that there is right angle in paper. Repeated instructions for Matt and Susan. Announced to make a square. Jenny asked if she could work ahead, no, she could not. She checked with Matt to see if he was ok. Susan got reprimanded for moving ahead. Stay with the teacher. Use the smaller clips makes it easier. Same for the next corner. They finished the square. Then they are following Jane’s instruction. Matt go in trouble for going ahead. Jenny wants to move to another table where they have more flexibility.

http://professionaldevelopment.ibo.org/ – show these videos for written, taught and assessed curriculum.

Show the youtube video: “If you give a lot of love” and discuss the attitudes and learner profile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0RLmYg58P4

International-Mindedness #pypchat #globalclassroom #flatconnect

August 15, 2014 2 comments

In the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization, “international-minded” students are defined as demonstrating all of the following attributes: open-minded, risk-taker, reflective, principled, balanced, inquirer, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators and caring. There are many ways to give our students enough time to practice these attributes. I have incorporated them into the library time and collaborating with teachers to allow students to show these attributes to others around the world

Global projects assist teachers and students in being able to demonstrate all those attributes, but especially open-minded, risk-taking, and reflective. In a global project, classrooms around the world meet virtually to discuss cultural similarities and differences. For students who may never get to travel outside of their neighborhood or school, this global experience is essential because they will hear ideas and opinions that they themselves have not thought about. Even understanding students in a different school in the United States can open up their minds allowing them to care and reflect on their life.

One example of this is Mystery Skype. Mystery Skype is a Skype videoconference where another school in the world to connect with my school. The teachers do not tell the students where the other school is from and the students ask each other Yes or No questions to determine where the school is located. While doing this the teachers and students talk about being good communicators and thinkers. Our students are not allowed to use slang or text talk so that they can be respective when they communicate. They are representing our school and need to think and act accordingly.  After the location is discovered, the two classrooms have a social exchange of what our classrooms, communities, and environments are like. We need to be knowledgeable about our own state and inquirers into what their state or country have to offer.

We had a few classes participate in the Global Read-Aloud. The teacher running this program simply picks books for every level K-12 and asks teachers to join her Edmodo group to find a connection with other teachers. Last year the students discussed in groups on Edmodo what they thought of the books and also video conferenced with other classrooms who read the same book. Our fifth graders were able to return to school in the evening to communicate with Kuala Lumpur students who had also read the book. The book this year was “Wonder” by Palaccio. The book talks about a student with deformities. Students discussed how a caring student would react with the main character. The students had an exchange about the book and then had time for a social exchange to understand each other’s culture.

On a larger scale, I am eager to have more classrooms participate in a global collaboration project. There is one project for kindergarten through second graders that is called “A View from Our Window”. My 4th graders participate in one called “A Week in the Life”. Both of these projects are created and managed through Flat Connections, which is an organization who believes students from different schools, and countries can come together to collaborate with each other. During these projects, students learn to be open-minded and inquire to their fellow co-students from around the world. If students can see this task as simple and friendly, they will develop into adults who want to connect with others who are not similar to themselves.

During the last year, my students made amazing reflections. One class of 2nd graders all wanted to move to Iowa so that they can drive the tractors in the fields at age twelve. This farming community in Iowa opened our students’ eyes up to different experiences. Another group of students connected with a Catholic school in Illinois. When one of our religious students asked how often they studied religion, the Catholic students answered only on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday because on Wednesday they attended Mass. The student was surprised because they only study religion a few days a week. As a librarian, this connected learning is similar to learning from a primary source. The students are learning from each other by discussing their similarities and differences.

As a society we should learn from our past mistakes and make the world a peaceful place. We have a diverse earth where conflict arises when we don’t understand our differences. This past year, I had every classroom from second grade to fifth grade participate in at least one project with a classroom outside of our school. Some of these projects were only communication projects. This year my goal is to have all the students from second through fifth grade participate in a collaboration project.  As the IB model teaches, teachers should inspire students to act about the knowledge they gain during school hours. If that knowledge includes more international students or United States students who are different than them, our students will become more open-minded and reflective. Even at the primary grades, students question how the world works and take action on their knowledge and passions. The Flat Connections group uses the term “Glocalization”, let’s teach globally, but act locally.



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