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TIPS FOR TEACHERS

5 Effective Growth Mindset Ideas for Your Classroom Today

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5 Effective Growth Mindset Ideas for Your Classroom Today

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"Becoming is better than being," says growth mindset guru, Carol Dweck.

Teaching your students to embrace their mistakes as learning opportunities, persevere through challenging problems, and focus on growth over final results empowers them to excel inside and outside of the classroom.

But nurturing the right approach to learning with your kids can be tricky without using effective growth mindset classroom strategies.

So, here are 5 awesome ideas to help you empower your kids with a growth mindset for learning in your classroom today:

1.) Embrace the 'Power of Yet"

 IDKY = I don't know...yet!

IDKY = I don't know...yet!

Yet—It’s a simple word with the power to forever change a student’s mindset for learning.

When you add yet to the end of a proclamation, it implies a work in progress, soon to be, under construction, to be continued...

Yet gives hope.

With a growth mindset, I can’t becomes I can’t...yet, which blazes the trail to I can!

Learn More

2.) Hang Posters

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You can inspire your kids every day by hanging a poster in your classroom that displays the key elements of learning with a growth mindset, including:

  • Being confident in your abilities and sharing your thinking helps you to learn and grow!
  • Making a mistake is no big deal because mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Being confident in your abilities and sharing your thinking helps you to learn and grow!

Learn More: 

3.) Share a Growth Mindset 'Quote of the Day'

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Sharing a daily inspiring “quote of the day” is the perfect way to remind your kids that it’s ok to make mistakes and that failing is just a stepping-stone along the way to learning new things.

Quotes are a great way to spark discussion and emphasize the value of taking on challenges, being persistent, and never giving up!

Here's one of my favorites: I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying. -Michael Jordan

Learn More10 Inspiring Growth Mindset Quotes for Kids


Are you looking for more printable quotes to share with your kids?


4.) Show a Short Film

 Image Source:  SOAR: An Animated Short via Vimeo.com

Image Source: SOAR: An Animated Short via Vimeo.com

Teachers can utilize short films and video clips to help their kids embrace a growth mindset for learning! Videos are great for visual reminders and for sparking open discussion.

Here are a few awesome growth mindset videos you can share with your kids today:

SOAR: An Animated Short  via Vimeo

Your Brain is Like a Muscle via Class Dojo

Janelle Monae and the Power of Yet via Sesame Street

Batman, Belief, and the Power of Yet via Mashup Math

5.) Do a Read-Aloud

 Flight School by Lita Judge is a great book for growth mindset read-alouds.

Flight School by Lita Judge is a great book for growth mindset read-alouds.

Another effective and easy way to encourage a growth mindset with your kids is through read-alouds, which are great for opening discussions and sharing the message through storytelling.

If you're looking for stories about individuals who demonstrate how to use a growth mindset to overcome adversity, check out We Are Teacher's blog post: 12 Perfect Read-Alouds for Teaching Growth Mindset.

Which book will be your kids' favorite?


Have more growth mindset strategies for your fellow teachers? Join the conversation and share yours in the comments section below.

Get more free math resources in your inbox each week--click here to get your weekly newsletter

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
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Looking For Number Talk Strategies? We Got You.

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Looking For Number Talk Strategies? We Got You.

One of the best strategies for helping your kids develop number sense is by engaging in Number Talks—a pedagogical strategy where kids are required to work out a math problem mentally, without written work, and then use a subtle hand gesture to indicate that they have found a solution.

These short, daily exercises teach your kids to play around with numbers, engage in creative problem solving, express their thinking symbolically and in words, and develop flexibility in how they think about mathematics.

The following explanation by Stanford Professor and faculty director of YouCubed, Jo Boaler, shares a few examples of what number talks look like:

Whether you have never used number talks in your lessons before, or are looking to improve how you use them, the following strategies will take you to the next level:

1.) Use Hand Signals

Number Talks work best when students learn to use subtle and specific hand gestures to indicate if they have solved the problem or if they are still thinking. This strategy prevents students from raising their hands in the air when they have found a solution, which can be intimidating and anxiety-inducing for nearby students.

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2.) Use Visuals

Students often hold a false belief that there is only way to solve any given math problem. But, in reality, mathematics is highly flexible and there are multiple ways to think about and work with numbers. By engaging with and thinking about visual mathematics, students can develop a flexibility of thinking that applies to all areas of mathematics and beyond.

Here's an example of a visual number talk using a dot card:

3.) Try Number "Stretching"

A great way to help kids develop number sense and flexible thinking skills is to have them engage in number "stretching"—the practice of manipulating numbers in a variety of ways.

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"As they contemplate solutions, students’ minds flow through a range of interrelated number concepts: the relationship between addition and subtraction, the pairs that make ten, ordering numbers on the number line, conservation of number, and plenty more. They are building fluency while exercising number sense; they are accessing number concepts while practicing basic facts. In short, they are becoming numerically flexible" says John S. Thomas' in his blog Improving Fluency and Number Sense with Simple Number “Stretching” from Edutopia.

An example of a number "stretch" activity would be asking students to come up with as many creative strategies as possible for subtracting 13 from 25.


Need help getting your students writing about math?


Do you have more ideas for using Number Talks in the math classroom? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

(Never miss a Mashup Math blog--click here to get our weekly newsletter!)

By Anthony Persico

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Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and joins Jo Boaler as an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 

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5 Growth Mindset Books Every Math Teacher Should Read

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5 Growth Mindset Books Every Math Teacher Should Read

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Are you ready to help your kids think about and learn math with a growth mindset?

By teaching your students to embrace mistakes as learning opportunities, persevere through challenging problems, and focus on growth over final results, you are empowering them to excel inside and outside of the classroom.

Achieving a growth mindset requires a purposeful and well-planned strategy to ensure that your students consistently hear the right messages, receive meaningful feedback, and engage in learning opportunities that help develop this new way of thinking. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help you create a classroom environment that supports learning with a growth mindset. Whether you teach elementary, middle, or high school math students, the following books will give you all the tools you need to start changing students' attitudes and mindsets for learning and making math more open and exciting for every child.


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Summary: After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.


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Summary: Mathematical Mindsets provides practical strategies and activities to help teachers and parents show all children, even those who are convinced that they are bad at math, that they can enjoy and succeed in math. Jo Boaler—Stanford researcher, professor of math education, and expert on math learning—has studied why students don't like math and often fail in math classes. She's followed thousands of students through middle and high schools to study how they learn and to find the most effective ways to unleash the math potential in all students.


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Summary: The Growth Mindset Coach is a complete and easy-to-follow guide for inspiring every student with the power of a growth mindset Created by teachers for teachers, this is the ultimate guide for unleashing students’ potential through creative lessons, empowering messages and innovative teaching. The Growth Mindset Coach provides all you need to foster a growth mindset classroom, including a month-by-month program, research-based activities, hands-on lesson plans, real-life educator stories, constructive feedback, and sample parent letters.
 


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Looking for fun ways to get your kids WRITING about math?


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Summary: What does it take to be a good mathematics teacher who actively engages students and addresses learning differences? Gain a mental picture of an effective mathematics learning environment and why it must be founded on growth mindset principles. This easy-to-read text breaks down the complex components of mathematics teaching and divides them into practical strategies. Combining mathematics research, useful tactics, and examples from K–6 classrooms, the book includes reflection questions, action tasks, and activities to inspire and engage mathematical minds.


Summary: Nurturing a growth mindset with your kids starts with sharing the right messages every day. This PDF eBook shares 101 growth mindset quote graphics that will give your kids a daily reminder that mistakes are the stepping stones along the path to success, with motivational quotes by individuals including Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, J.K. Rowling, Ellen DeGeneres, Barack Obama, Thomas Edison, Taylor Swift, Kid President, and many more! Each quote is displayed on a full-page graphic that is meant to be printed and/or displayed in your classroom--they are perfect for sparking open discussions and for Growth Mindset bulletin boards. You can learn more by clicking here.


Looking for more fun math resources to share with your kids? Click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel and access our free video library--and don't forget to subscribe!

Have more growth mindset book suggestions for your fellow math teachers? Join the conversation and share yours in the comments section below.

Get more free math resources in your inbox each week--click here to get your weekly newsletter

By Anthony Persico

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Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
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Number Sense: The Key to Helping Kids Actually ‘Get’ Math

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Number Sense: The Key to Helping Kids Actually ‘Get’ Math

 
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Are your kids struggling to grasp challenging concepts in math?

Many students struggle due to a lack of number sense—the ability to use a variety of strategies to solve math problems.      

And without this ability to think about mathematics in flexible and creative ways, your kids may never be able to truly understand math, instead relying on ineffective practices such as memorization and excessive repetition just to “get by.”

Number sense can be thought of as “having an intuitive relationship with numbers” says Lisa Wilson Carboni of UNC’s School of Education. She believes that students with a deep understanding of math know more than how to use a formula or calculate an answer—they know how to think and reason mathematically, perform mental calculations, use a variety of strategies, make reasonable estimations, justify solutions, and apply their skills to complex situations that relate to real life.

So, how can you help your kids develop number sense? You can start by providing them with opportunities to solve problems in a variety of flexible and creative ways.

One focus that I implement daily with my students is learning to calculate mentally by solving mental math strings. These mental math strings force students to make five mental computations to arrive at the solution. Students are forced to move away from using procedural mathematics, and towards thinking more creatively about mathematics.  I often do “call-outs” such as “What is “the square of 6?”, “What is 0.35 in percent form?”, “What is the sum of 128 and 9?" 

Another activity for developing number sense is group work where students have the opportunity for mathematical discourse and exposure to different ways of solving problems. Teachers can help students learn to make these connections by having students share their approaches. 

By discussing with problem-solving strategies with students, they learn to evaluate their own reasoning and to justify their solutions. It also provides you with invaluable formative assessment of your students’ strengths, weaknesses, misunderstandings, misconceptions, and content knowledge.

Providing your students with opportunities to solve a variety of estimation problems is another strategy for building creative problem solving and a deeper understanding of mathematics. Estimation problems are a quick easy way to provide students with creative problem-solving activities. I bring in containers of different candies and have students estimate how many are in the container. Oftentimes, students begin simply by guessing but eventually, they begin to use a variety of strategies to help make a more precise estimation, especially when the student with the most precise answer wins a prize.

If your goal is to prepare your students to use math in the real world, then relying on stand-alone problems is not an option. Kids need to be exposed to solving math problems in a variety of flexible and creative ways in order to develop number sense and truly grasp mathematics.

By Sheila Gfell

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Why Every Teacher Should Learn to Say 'No'

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Why Every Teacher Should Learn to Say 'No'

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“What you don’t do determines what you can do!” –Tim Ferriss

Here's a fact: Dedicated teachers are in short supply and students, parents and administrators are masters of—often unfairly— squeezing every last drop of energy from them.

Here's another fact:  You have the right to say 'no' to unreasonable requests without feeling guilty!

It's true that teaching is an inherently selfless profession and many view themselves as servants to their students, schools, and communities.

It's also true that well-balanced students have well-balanced teachers. 

Saying 'no' is never easy. You want to do everything that you can to make a positive impact on your students and your school. In Kenny Nguyen's TED Talk, The Art of Saying No, the practice of declining certain requests is the key to saying yes to others. If you have set priorities for your students and yourself and expect to get through the school year with your stamina and sanity intact, then you simply can not say 'yes' to every request. 

Great teachers, of course, are team players, and saying 'no' sometimes won't change that. Know your limits and never feel guilty about putting a cap on how far you're willing to extend yourself.

Otherwise, like many teachers often do, you can fall victim to exhaustion and burnout towards the middle/end of the school year, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, unhappy, and ineffective.

You just may find out that saying 'no' more often prepares you for the perfect times to say 'yes'!

Do you think it's important for teachers to learn to say 'no' more often? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

(Never miss a Mashup Math blog--click here to get our weekly newsletter!)

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

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