One Game, One Grade will NEVER define me!

18 Feb

slow stop

Photo Credit: wiring71 via Compfight cc

Over the past many years, our school leaders and teachers have worked towards a more growth-mindset learning environment. We’re following some of the powerful suggestions found:

  • in Carol S. Dweck’s book Mindset
  • by utilizing Growth Mindset Feedback (see the growth minded language frames below)
  • in Susan Scott’s book Fierce Conversations
  • in Rath and Clifton’s expanded edition of How Full is Your Bucket?
  • with The Leader in Me focus

We’ve even revamped our K-9 report card, now in its third year, to ensure that it is more student-focused and emphasizes ‘how’ students learn as opposed to just ‘what’ they learn. This better supports the growth and development of our students.

Yet, what sparked this interest and reflection of having me review how our division is modeling strength-based learning? It was a blog by Principal Doug Enders, specifically his December Message that I just read this morning. And once again, it reminded me the importance of the power of our language and our actions. We can always improve ourselves with hard work and effort.

Here are the Growth Minded Language Frames: (From Mindset Works EducatorKit and PSD70 Inclusive Ed Leads)

As students work on their learning objectives, growth minded language frames (seen below) will allow teachers to ensure students remain persistent, resilient and focused on the process of learning.

When they struggle despite strong effort

  • OK, so you didn’t do as well as you wanted to.  Let’s look at this as an opportunity to learn.

  • What did you do to prepare for this? Is there anything you could do to prepare differently next time?

  • You are not there/here yet.

  • When you think you can’t do it, remind yourself that you can’t do it yet.

  • I expect you to make some mistakes.  It is the kinds of mistakes that you make along the way that tell me how to support you.

  • Mistakes are welcome here!

  • You might be struggling, but you are making progress.  I can see your growth (in these places).

  • Look at how much progress you made on this.  Do you remember how much more challenging this was (yesterday/last week/last year)?

  • Of course it’s tough – school is here to makes our brains stronger!

  • If it were easy you wouldn’t be learning anything!

  • You can do it – it’s tough, but you can; let’s break it down into steps.

  • Let’s stop here and return tomorrow with a fresher brain.

  • I admire your persistence and I appreciate your hard work.  It will pay off.

  • Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  • There is no wrong answer

  • The expert in anything was once a beginner.

  • We learn by doing.

  • It’s about the effort not the product.

  • Try, try again, you have nothing to lose.

  • There is no wrong answer, just a different question.

  • If you think you can or can’t you’re right.

  • We all learn from our mistakes.

  • Let’s just break this down. You did OK on this, let’s build on it.

  • Would you like to look at this? (show example)

  • Not to worry…other people are struggling too.

  • Everyone has strengths in different areas.

  • How else can we look at this?

  • Do you want a partner?

  • Let’s break this down.

  • Einstein (or other) struggled with concepts as well and look at what he accomplished.

When they struggle and need help with strategies

  • Let’s think about how to improve (the accuracy of) this section/paragraph/sentence/word choice/logic/description/problem/calculation.

  • Let me add new information to help you solve this….

  • Here are some strategies to figure this out.

  • Describe your process for completing this task.

  • Let’s do one together, out loud.

  • Let’s practice (skill) so we can move it from our short-term to our long-term memory.

  • Just try – we can always fix mistakes once I see where you are getting held up.

  • Let me explain in another way with different words.

  • What parts were difficult for you? Let’s look at them.

  • Let’s ask —— for advice—s/he may be able to explain/suggest some ideas/recommend some strategies.

  • Let’s write a plan for practicing and/or learning.

  • If you make ______changes, we can reassess your score.  Let’s discuss a plan for you.

  • Show me what you know.

  • You start and I’ll stay with you.

  • Let’s try working with a buddy.

  • Let me show you an example.

  • Teach me how to do this.

  • How can we help you?

  • We learn by doing.

  • Use the references around the room.

  • What is another way we can do this?

  • Show me your thinking.

  • Let’s break it down.

  • Let’s have (student A) and (student B) show each other.

  • Let me show you how I would solve this. I will say my thoughts out loud so that you can see/hear what I’m doing.

  • How can we break this down?

  • Let’s work together.

  • This is what works for me.

When they are making progress

  • Hey that’s a tough problem/task/concept that you’ve been working on for a while.

  • What strategies are you using?

  • I can see a difference in this work compared to ___.  You have really grown (in these areas).

  • I see you using your strategies/tools/notes/etc.  Keep it up!

  • Hey! You were working on this for awhile and you didn’t quit!

  • Your hard work is clearly evident in your process/project/essay/assignment.

  • I really like what you’ve put down here. What else might you add?

  • Look how far you’ve come. (Show example of previous work compared to current.) I wonder how far you will come in another month?

  • I’ve seen growth in your work.

  • What is your next goal?

  • What strategies have worked well for you? Not so well?

  • Good job at using the criteria!

  • Positive communication (video, audio, email, text, notes) with home by student/teacher.

  • Show the Principal the good work you had done.

  • Present your learning to the class.

  • I would like to use your work as an exemplar for other students.

  • Your hard work is making a difference.

  • What has made the difference in your growth?

  • Encourage the perseverance.

  • I am impressed with your determination.

When they succeed with strong effort

  • I am so proud of the effort you put forth to/in/with ______.

  • I am very proud of you for not giving up, and look what you have to show for it!

  • Congratulations – you really used great strategies for studying, managing your time (behavior, etc.).

  • I want you to remember for a moment how challenging this was when you began.

  • Look at how far you have come!

  • All that hard work and effort paid off!

  • The next time you have a challenge like this, what will you do?

  • What choices did you make that you think contributed to your success?

  • It’s exciting to see the difference in your work now when I compare it to your earlier work.

  • I can see you really enjoyed learning ____.

  • That’s awesome, what did you do differently?

  • Look at your success when you try your hardest/do your best work?

  • How did that make you feel?

  • I knew you could do that! Way to go!

  • What was different for you today that made you work so hard?

  • What is your next goal?

  • How can you apply what you’ve just learned to….?

  • You took a risk and look at your results!

  • I would like to share your success with the rest of the class – your effort paid off!

  • You’re a great model.

  • Remember the feeling of success.

  • How can we transfer this effort?

When they succeed easily without effort

  • It’s great that you have that down. Now we need to find something a bit more challenging so you can grow.

  • It looks like your skills weren’t really challenged by this assignment. Sorry for wasting your time!

  • I don’t want you to be bored because you’re not challenging yourself.

  • We need to raise the bar for you now.

  • You’re ready for something more difficult.

  • What skill would you like to work on next?

  • What topic would you like to learn more about next?

  • Wow, look at the gifts you have.

  • Could you be our expert resource on….?How could you extend this? Take further?

  • Please teach this to the rest of the class/group.

  • What would be the next step – how can you take it further?

  • Find someone to help.

  • Create a project/research topic that demonstrates your understanding.

  • How can we generalize this skill to another area?

  • Show them the skill sequence. What’s next?

  • Do you feel you put forth your best effort? How can you improve on this?

  • Intentionally praise the effort not the product.

  • How can we take this in a different direction?

  • What would you like to do now?

What other resources are you using to promote a strengths-based learning environment? It’s always great to hear what other administrators, teachers and parents are framing their conversations and learning.


2 responses to “One Game, One Grade will NEVER define me!

  1. Sara Truebridge

    February 18, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    I really appreciate having the concrete examples of the Growth Minded Language Frames to support the transition from research to practice. With respect to your question asking, “What other resources are you using to promote a strengths-based learning environment?” I don’t want to self-promote but I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my book as a resource because it too, is filled with concrete examples of how to promote a strengths-based learning environment. In fact much of what you talk about in this post is reflected in my book’s title and throughout its pages. The book is published by Teachers College Press and is titled: “Resilience Begins With Beliefs: Building on Student Strengths for Success in School.” ( Needless to say, I welcome any and all feedback.

    Thank you for YOUR post,

    Sara Truebridge

    • slitech

      February 19, 2014 at 8:24 am

      Thank you Sara for the kind words. I look forward to reading your book and sharing its information with the teachers and administrators that I work with throughout our district!


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