July 18, 2019
By Meena Srinivasan

Lesson plan

'I Tried Hard,' Growth Mindset

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Students will be able to identify growth mindset praise and create a poster that displays examples of this praise.

(20 minutes)
  • Join the class in a circle, either seated on the rug or in chairs.
  • Write the following quote on the board: "It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." -Theodore Roosevelt
  • Ask students to quietly come up, two to three at a time, and write words or phrases that connect to this quote.
  • After everyone has contributed, ask one student volunteer to come up to the board and share what they notice about the words and phrases from their peers.
  • Ask the class, "What does it mean to try? What does it mean to be smart?"
  • Show the video "Carol Dweck - A Study on Praise and Mindsets," and ask the class to write down three takeaways as they watch.
  • After the video, ask the class, "What happened to the group praised for intelligence (the group that was told, 'You are smart')?" Build upon student answers, and mention that this group's scores dropped by 20%.
  • Ask, "What happened to the group that was praised for their effort (the group that was told, 'You tried hard')?" Mention that this group's scores increased by 30%.
  • Ask the class, "What do you think this video tells us about the best ways to talk about achievement?" Share the importance of offering praise to yourself and others.
  • Ask the class, "What are some forms of praise that we can use with ourselves and with others, instead of saying 'You are smart'?" Write their responses on the board, and offer some suggestions:
    1. You tried hard.
    2. What a creative way to solve that problem.
    3. You have improved on ____.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will be designing their own poster with growth mindset praises to place up in the classroom and in the school.
  • Show your sample poster with growth mindset praise.
  • Ask the class what they notice and wonder about your poster (e.g., use of colour, growth mindset praise, contains a heading and title, image, etc.).
(5 minutes)
  • Explain to students that they will work independently at their seats to design their posters, and then they will present their posters to the class.
  • Review the instructions and rubric for the Poster: Best Ways to Praise worksheet.
  • Ask the class if they have any questions.
(25 minutes)
  • Have students return to their seats and work on their posters.

Enrichment:Advanced groups may research growth mindset studies online. They can complete a poster that defines growth mindset and includes research and data about growth mindset.

Support:Work one-on-one with some students to help them complete their posters.

(5 minutes)
  • During the independent working time, connect one-on-one with as many students as possible. Ask them to share their understanding of growth mindset praise.
(20 minutes)
  • Ask the class to come back together in a circle, and to bring their posters with them.
  • Explain that each student will present their poster. Afterwards, two classmates will offer growth mindset praise for the presenter.
  • Give students time to present their posters and to receive growth mindset praise.
  • Tell the class to keep their eyes out for their posters, because they will be placed up in the classroom and in school as a reminder to use growth mindset praise with themselves and others.

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