Ideas & Innovations

from the DISD Curriculum & Instruction Department Aug 2017

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Welcome Forward To Our Best Year Yet!

Why "Welcome Forward" instead of "Welcome Back"?


  • Forward because we are excited & looking to the future.
  • Forward because we learn and grow from the past and are ready for a better tomorrow.
  • Forward because no matter how great today is, we can always improve.
  • Forward because that's what we as educators do...prepare our students for the next step, problem, text, challenge, obstacle, and task.
  • Forward because we are preparing our students for the future!



This is going to be a great school year! The C&I department is here to help you with whatever need you have; resources, materials, ideas, applications, management, etc. We will be on your campuses each week and would love to be able to serve and support you!


Last year we started our C&I monthly newsletter, Ideas and Innovations. This year we are growing and expanding that idea to include a monthly T-Tess Tip which correlates to the focus of that month's newsletter and details how to move from proficient to accomplished to distinguished in various T Tess domains. We will also house Newsletter Archives on the C&I page on the Dayton ISD website for easier access to previous editions.


So, moving forward, we have some ideas that may help you and your students begin this new year with a positive growth mindset and engaging activities to promote critical thinking and grit.

Grit: the power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth

GRIT & Growth Mindset

This year, our key word is YET. "Yet" implies we are still working and striving for more. We are not complacent with the status quo, and know that anything is possible, we just need to continue learning and growing to achieve it.


The C&I Department started the school year by introducing our new teachers to the ideas of Grit & Growth Mindset with the Angela Duckworth video above. We wanted to be sure our newest staff members knew the culture and level of expectations that we in DISD experience on a daily basis on each campus.


We invite you to support and encourage Grit & Growth Mindset in your classrooms, too.

Here are some easy first steps to introduce your students the power of "Yet" and guide them on their journey to realize their unique potential.

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from The Growth Mindset Coach: A Teacher's Month-by-Month Handbook for Empowering Students to Achieve, by A. Brock and H. Hundley

Students learning about growth mindset are learning that they are capable of achievement in all areas and then going on to prove it. They are receiving the message that the brain is capable of growth, but must be pushed and exercised to experience that growth. Once students get the message, they are able to apply it to the work they are doing in school. In other words, when students are taught that everyone is capable of achieving in all areas, they achieve at higher rates.

Engaging Activities to Support Grit & Growth Mindset

  • STATIONS- stations can be implemented at any grade level. Have students rotate through each station around the room.
  • ASK- ask students their opinion on a topic they are learning. Let their driving questions lead to independent research tasks.
  • PUZZLE- puzzle the students with a startling fact or intriguing question. Let the students research the answer to the question or the fact.
  • GAMES- students love playing games. Add in a Kahoot, Quizizz, or a Flippity game to review concepts or learn a topic.
  • COMPETITION- host a debate, make a scavenger hunt, or have some type of contest where there is a winner.
  • CREATE- let the students create what they know. The more hands-on creations you let the students do, the more engaged they will be.
  • NEW- do something new or that you would never do to change things up like change your seating, let the students draw on individual whiteboards, have class outside, play charades with vocabulary words, try that tech tool you always wanted to try- Nearpod, Aww Web Whiteboard, etc.
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T Tess Connections

Some areas where GRIT & GROWTH MINDSET are reflected in T-TESS rubric:


Planning Dimension 1:1 Standards & Alignment


  • Proficient - provide appropriate time for lesson and lesson closure - possible grit required in lesson closure
  • Accomplished - provide appropriate time for student work, lesson and lesson closure- more grit required because of time for student work and lesson closure
  • Proficient - provide appropriate time for student reflection, student work, lesson and lesson closure - includes both growth mindset (student reflection on work & learning) and grit (student work & lesson closure).



Planning Dimension 1:4 Activities


  • Proficient - Questions that encourage all students to engage in complex, higher-order thinking. - grit supported in complex, higher order thinking
  • Accomplished -• Questions that encourage all students to engage in complex, higher-order thinking and problem solving. - more grit required due to additional expectation of problem solving
  • Distinguished - Opportunities for students to generate questions that lead to further inquiry and promote complex, higher-order thinking, problem solving and real-world application - most grit required


Instruction Dimension 2:1 Achieving Expectations


  • Proficient - Provides students opportunities to take initiative of their own learning. - growth mindset supported through student initiative
  • Accomplished - Establishes systems where students take initiative of their own learning and self-monitor. - more support for growth mindset when adding student monitoring of learning
  • Distinguished -Systematically enables students to set goals for themselves and monitor their progress over time. - growth mindset fully supported with student set goals and monitoring of progress.



Learning Environment Dimension 3;3 Classroom Culture


  • Proficient - Students work respectfully individually and in groups.
  • Accomplished - Students collaborate positively with each other and the teacher.
  • Distinguished - Students collaborate positively and encourage each other’s efforts and achievements. - true reinforcement of grit and growth mindset through encouragement and praise of efforts and achievements, not grades, intellect or talent.
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We'd love to hear from you!

What do you do in your classroom to support grit or growth mindset? How have your students benefited from your own growth mindset and grit?


Thanks for stepping outside of your comfort zone with us! Let me know what I can do to support you and your professional growth and learning - I'm here for you!


Shanna McCracken, DISD Curriculum Coordinator