"Stay the Course"

Perseverance and Optimism

My Journey

“The evolving nature of today’s society, generational differences, and major changes in parenting styles are the driving forces behind the recent interest in mindset and grit. The demands and challenges facing today’s children prove stressful for those who have not yet developed a 21st century mindset and acquired grit traits. They may need to strengthen their resiliency, perseverance, and resolve necessary to overcome obstacles, disappointments, setbacks and “good failure.”


- Jim Grant

How do we teach perseverance and optimism? Will this influence their mindset?

Research

Mindsets

“A set of personal beliefs and is a way of thinking that influences your behavior and attitude toward yourself and others.” -Mary Cay Ricci


  • "A teacher’s mindset will affect the child’s mindset… Not how fast students master learning, but the effort they put forth.
  • Don't praise what a child ‘is,’ such as tall or smart... As an alternative praise children for their efforts, and what they “do.”


“Children who are praised for their intelligence learn to value performance, while children praised for their effort and hard work value opportunities to learn.” - David Sousa 34

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Theory of two Mindsets

Growth Mindset: “A belief system that suggest that one’s intelligence can be grown or developed with persistence, effort and a focus on learning.” (Ricci 3)


Fixed Mindset: “A belief system that suggests that a person has a predetermined amount of intelligence, skills, or talents.” (Ricci 3)

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KIPP Academy

Knowledge Is Power Program

Levin noticed: Students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically at KIPP. Instead they seemed to be the ones who possessed certain other gifts, skills like optimism and resilience and social agility."
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Pre-Assessment and Interview

What do they know about the brain?
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Beginning with Focus

He artfully says, “Nothing can survive without food. If our fears are still there, it is because we are feeding them.” (Hanh 42) Once we have recognized challenge, we may accept the difficultly ahead and practice optimistic thoughts. He suggests setting aside five minutes a day to practice mindful breathing or guided meditation.
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Perseverance

Learning Tasks: Building basic knowledge of the brain

Learning Task 1: "The Brain Is Like a Sponge" (Ricci 106)

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Learning Task 2: "Building a Neural Network" (Ricci 110)

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Learning Task 3: "The Brain Is Like a Muscle" (Ricci 118)

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Learning Task 4: "Taking Care of Your Brain" (Ricci 120)

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Teaching Optimism- Don't Give Up!

"Snowflake Bentley's" grit in capturing his "miracles of beauty"
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I think I can, I think I can, I knew I could!

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Praising the effort visually...

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Noticings in Reading...

Student A: change in confidence


  • During conferences in January was easily distracted was not showing perseverance when encountering tricky words.
  • In February when given a new book said he could not read it.
  • In March I encouraged him to read the book that he found difficult. He was getting stuck on the word step. I encouraged him to use and strategies and not give up! It took him a while to read the first page, "There are five steps." Once we read those words he read the rest confidently even when encountering tricky words.
  • Built comprehension when feeling more confident in his reading. He noticed there was a twist at the end of the story
  • He was making text to self connections, "my dad likes to put spice on his pizza."



Student B: less frustration


  • In January became easily frustrated when encountering a challenge in reading
  • Would read books that were easy when reading independently
  • When given new books in February was given 3 new books. She told me she couldn't read them. When I read with her she persevered through hard words and did not give up. I praised her efforts!
  • I noticed her reading new books independently, built confidence!
  • In March in a DRA assessment read a level 4 text… when encountering unfamiliar words used strategies to keep reading!

Changes in Mindsets...

  • At lunch a student learned how to become more independent in his lunchtime routines!
  • Hollistically we are seeing more students trying before asking for help in all facets of the day (Writing, Reading, and putting on snow clothes)
  • Teachers sharing stories of perseverance outside of our classroom
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Post Interview

Can everyone learn new things?


"Yes because before I didn't know how to read at my old school. I practiced, practiced at my home and here. Now I am really good. It makes me feel happy." -Ava


"I agree. If you practice the monkey bars all night long or something you'll get better." - Annalee


"I once didn't know how to draw in my pancakes book… now they [pictures] are really really neat. I practiced at night and stuff and I got better." -Annalee


(With a great big smile counted to 100!) "I kind of practiced, I like to count to myself." -Xander

Conclusion

Character Education a a valuable part of curriculum! There are many facets to character education, as well as many obstacles to teaching it. However, I believe that a culture of praising efforts at school and reinforcement at home can give children the tools they need to become a life long learner.


An esteemed professor of psychology from the University of Pennsylvania says, "Optimists look for specific, limited, short-term explanations for bad events, and as a result, in the face of a setback, they're more likely to pick themselves up and try again. While pessimists tend to react to negative events by explaining them as permanent, personal and pervasive." (Tough 54)