I love to start the year building classroom community with Peter H. Reynold’s books like The Dot and Ish. They are great read aloud books to begin a growth mindset activity. Both books are great for teaching kids that it is okay to take risks and make mistakes. Those books also go very well with this growth mindset activity we worked on. Read on to find out how this activity worked out in my classroom.
I started this school year with an activity that I saw on Twitter. I wrote out these words on plain paper and then read each word to my students so they would know what each said. For each word I asked for a show of hands to see how many kids had an idea of what each word meant. The only ones that I didn’t get every hand up for were persistence and dedication. So we talked about those words as a class and I shared what those words mean to me. I also gave a specific example for each of those words.
Then I spread each paper around the room with markers and asked students to go to each word and write or draw what the word means to them. I told them it had to be a silent activity so that their friends could really think about each word.
This was a fairly chatty class but you could hear a pin drop during this activity. Some of the ideas they came up with were just so great.
The most important part of the lesson came at the end when we shared all of their ideas. I asked them to tell me why they thought we were talking about this, why was this an important conversation.
Here is the answer I got from one student, “…because it’s okay for us to make mistakes. If we don’t make mistakes we can’t learn from them. And in order to make mistakes we have to have courage to take risks sometimes, even if we are worried we might get it wrong. In order to take risks we have to put in some effort and persistence and we will eventually be successful”.
Kids are so bright!
Give this activity a shot in your classroom. If you have younger kids I would limit the words to just 4. This was a mixed grade glass with third and fourth graders.
Let me know how it goes!
You can read about another simple way to build classroom community here.
If you need ideas for the beginning of the year then check out this post for digital resources to use with Google Classroom.