Godzilla Gazette, 6

Week of September 28, 2015


  • From Grace
  • The Reflective Practitioner
  • Weekly Team Planning Link
  • Weekly Events
  • For Your Information

From Grace

Aloha, everyone! I hope you each had a lovely weekend and used it to relax and rejuvenate, at least part of the time!

A huge part of why we have embraced the Maker Movement in our daily work is the benefits of using design thinking and iteration as tools to help our students build resiliency and a growth mindset, two things we've been talking about since I came to Mathews. I think the unintended consequence of this is that we've had to look at our own views about growth and intelligence and innate abilities right along with our kids.

I've found that it's not always easy to break out of my fixed mindset into the growth mindset that I value so much more and know to be so much more effective in learning.

That's why I was so excited to read and share this week's Reflective Practitioner, written by Carol Dweck, the pioneer behind the growth mindset and the iterations she and her colleagues have now put in place to help this concept continue to grow and be used for the intended purpose.

As you plan Maker activities and think about the ways we can ask our students to think critically, plan, design, test and grow, keep in mind the true meaning of the growth mindset. Let's think about how we can continue to support all of our students and each other, not just with simple affirmations, but with true support and plans for success. If you're struggling with something, let's figure it out together - that is truly modeling the growth mindset and the design process. It's why we are Making!

Have a lovely sixth week of school. Do always remember to look for the good in your kids and your colleagues and to smile. Just as I said last week - we got this! :)

The Reflective Pracitioner

Carol Dweck Revisits the 'Growth Mindset'

September 22, 2015

For many years, I secretly worked on my research. I say “secretly” because, once upon a time, researchers simply published their research in professional journals—and there it stayed.

However, my colleagues and I learned things we thought people needed to know. We found that students’ mindsets—how they perceive their abilities—played a key role in their motivation and achievement, and we found that if we changed students’ mindsets, we could boost their achievement. More precisely, students who believed their intelligence could be developed (a growth mindset) outperformed those who believed their intelligence was fixed (a fixed mindset). And when students learned through a structured program that they could “grow their brains” and increase their intellectual abilities, they did better. Finally, we found that having children focus on the process that leads to learning (like hard work or trying new strategies) could foster a growth mindset and its benefits.

So a few years back, I published my book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success to share these discoveries with educators. And many educators have applied the mindset principles in spectacular ways with tremendously gratifying results.

This is wonderful, and the good word continues to spread. But as we’ve watched the growth mindset become more popular, we’ve become much wiser about how to implement it. This learning—the common pitfalls, the misunderstandings, and what to do about them—is what I’d like to share with you, so that we can maximize the benefits for our students.

A growth mindset isn’t just about effort. Perhaps the most common misconception is simply equating the growth mindset with effort. Certainly, effort is key for students’ achievement, but it’s not the only thing. Students need to try new strategies and seek input from others when they’re stuck. They need this repertoire of approaches—not just sheer effort—to learn and improve.

We also need to remember that effort is a means to an end to the goal of learning and improving. Too often nowadays, praise is given to students who are putting forth effort, but not learning, in order to make them feel good in the moment: “Great effort! You tried your best!” It’s good that the students tried, but it’s not good that they’re not learning. The growth-mindset approach helps children feel good in the short and long terms, by helping them thrive on challenges and setbacks on their way to learning. When they’re stuck, teachers can appreciate their work so far, but add: “Let’s talk about what you’ve tried, and what you can try next.”

“The growth mindset was intended to help close achievement gaps, not hide them.”

Recently, someone asked what keeps me up at night. It’s the fear that the mindset concepts, which grew up to counter the failed self-esteem movement, will be used to perpetuate that movement. In other words, if you want to make students feel good, even if they’re not learning, just praise their effort! Want to hide learning gaps from them? Just tell them, “Everyone is smart!” The growth mindset was intended to help close achievement gaps, not hide them. It is about telling the truth about a student’s current achievement and then, together, doing something about it, helping him or her become smarter.

I also fear that the mindset work is sometimes used to justify why some students aren’t learning: “Oh, he has a fixed mindset.” We used to blame the child’s environment or ability.

Must it always come back to finding a reason why some children just can’t learn, as opposed to finding a way to help them learn? Teachers who understand the growth mindset do everything in their power to unlock that learning.

A few years ago, my colleague in Australia, Susan Mackie, detected an outbreak of what she called “false growth mindset.” She was seeing educators who claimed to have a growth mindset, but whose words and actions didn’t reflect it. At first, I was skeptical. But before long, I saw it, too, and I understood why.

In many quarters, a growth mindset had become the right thing to have, the right way to think. It was as though educators were faced with a choice: Are you an enlightened person who fosters students’ well-being? Or are you an unenlightened person, with a fixed mindset, who undermines them? So, of course, many claimed the growth-mindset identity. But the path to a growth mindset is a journey, not a proclamation.

Let’s look at what happens when teachers, or parents, claim a growth mindset, but don’t follow through. In recent research, Kathy Liu Sun found that there were many math teachers who endorsed a growth mindset and even said the words “growth mindset” in their middle school math classes, but did not follow through in their classroom practices. In these cases, their students tended to endorse more of a fixed mindset about their math ability. My advisee and research collaborator Kyla Haimovitz and I are finding many parents who endorse a growth mindset, but react to their children’s mistakes as though they are problematic or harmful, rather than helpful. In these cases, their children develop more of a fixed mindset about their intelligence.

How can we help educators adopt a deeper, true growth mindset, one that will show in their classroom practices? You may be surprised by my answer: Let’s legitimize the fixed mindset. Let’s acknowledge that (1) we’re all a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets, (2) we will probably always be, and (3) if we want to move closer to a growth mindset in our thoughts and practices, we need to stay in touch with our fixed-mindset thoughts and deeds.

If we “ban” the fixed mindset, we will surely create false growth-mindsets. (By the way, I also fear that if we use mindset measures for accountability, we will create false growth mindsets on an unprecedented scale.) But if we watch carefully for our fixed-mindset triggers, we can begin the true journey to a growth mindset.

What are your triggers?

Watch for a fixed-mindset reaction when you face challenges. Do you feel overly anxious, or does a voice in your head warn you away? Watch for it when you face a setback in your teaching, or when students aren’t listening or learning. Do you feel incompetent or defeated? Do you look for an excuse? Watch to see whether criticism brings out your fixed mindset. Do you become defensive, angry, or crushed instead of interested in learning from the feedback? Watch what happens when you see an educator who’s better than you at something you value. Do you feel envious and threatened, or do you feel eager to learn? Accept those thoughts and feelings and work with and through them. And keep working with and through them.

My colleagues and I are taking a growth-mindset stance toward our message to educators. Maybe we originally put too much emphasis on sheer effort. Maybe we made the development of a growth mindset sound too easy. Maybe we talked too much about people having one mindset or the other, rather than portraying people as mixtures. We are on a growth-mindset journey, too.

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Weekly Team Planning Template Link

Weekly Events - Custodial and Groundskeeper Appreciation Week - Show the Love!

Monday, September 28, 2015 - A Day

  • Happy Birthday, Pamela Garcia! - Sunday, September 27 :)
  • BOY CPMS Window Opens - PreK
  • CST - 1:10 pm - Elise, Claudia, Grace
  • HWC - 2:50 pm - Library - Susan and Teachers
  • After-school Classes - 3:00 pm - Various Locations

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - B Day

  • PDAS - 8:10 am - Classroom - Grace
  • Parent Meeting - 1:10 pm - Office - Meghan, Lauren, Grace
  • Area 2 - Goal Setting Conference - 1:45 pm - Office - Grace
  • UT Reading Class - 1:00-4:00 pm - Cafeteria and Library
  • HWC - 2:50 pm - Library - Susan and Teachers
  • After-school Classes - 3:00 pm - Various Locations

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - C Day

  • HWC - 2:50 pm - Library - Susan and Teachers
  • After-school Classes - 3:00 pm - Various Locations

Thursday, October 1, 2015 - A Day

  • ARD - 8:00 am - Office - Margaret, Diana M., Corinda, Kellie, Grace
  • ARD - 1:10 pm - Learning Lab 1 - Janie, Margaret, Claudia, Michelle, Grace
  • After-school Classes - 3:00 pm - Various Locations
  • Staff Meeting - 3:00 pm - SEL Strategies

Friday, October 2, 2015 - B Day

  • TPRI/DRA Window Closes - All Data Entered - 1st and 2nd Grades
  • Assembly - 7:45 am - Gym - All
  • SpEd Team Meeting - 12:00-3:00 pm - Learning Lab 1 - Janie, Diana M., Margaret, Grace

For Your Information


  • If you need something, ask.
  • Remember to take attendance daily on TEAMS.
  • Arrive and pick up your class from special areas on time - respect each other's time.
  • Ensure 504, IEP, ELL, and Gifted Accommodations are being followed
  • Actively supervise your students - Spread out at recess to monitor each area.
  • Check our calendar for important events
  • Try something new and have fun!

Kudos: Do you know of something good? Share it with Grace to be included here or write it in the comments below!

  • To Maria for printing and copying the 5th Grade Science benchmark tests and answer documents!
  • To Susan and Sara for volunteering their time on Saturday to share their knowledge and skills at the stepping stone grouting party!
  • To Roy, Rosemary, and Argentina for their ongoing efforts to create a safe and calm lunch experience!
  • To Jud for organizing a reading party for our summer readers!
  • To Liliana for support of our students, both during and after school!
  • To Brett for always being willing to assist our students who are having a difficult time!
  • To Robin for creating guidance lessons about accepting others to support Pride Week!
  • To Suzie and her class for showing us how we're all unique at assembly!
  • To Mary for promoting the UT reading during Fun Club!
  • To Jud and Steve for giving up their time to attend the PTA Board Meeting on Friday!

Upcoming Events:

  • Reverse Evacuation/Shelter in Place Drill - October 6th
  • Austin Jazz Workshop - October 8th
  • Parent Teacher Conference Day - October 12th
  • Fire Drill - October 16th
  • Octoberrama - October 17th
  • Marathon Kids Kick-Off - October 17th
  • Mix it Up Lunch - October 27
  • Monster Orchestra Concert - October 30th

Website to Explore:

  • http://imagination.is/ - The Imagination Foundation Cardboard Challenge is a result of Caine’s Arcade. It is a great way to inspire kids with mostly cardboard. It is amazing and exciting to see cardboard innovation at its finest. In fact, how might your students think outside the box and Make! Challenge is October 10th - perfect time to start thinking about it! :)