Doing Whatever It Takes!


Welcome to 2015! 

I am excited to see our students and hear about their adventures during Winter Break.  I hope you had the opportunity to rest and connect with those close to you.  Here’s hoping that everyone returns healthy and ready to continue learning. 

This year the staff and I have been talking about Carol Dweck’s research on mindset.  She talks about two types of mindsets – fixed and growth.  A fixed mindset is one that believes intelligence and talent is set at birth and that effort has little to do with success.  A growth mindset believes that hard work and perseverance develops our intelligence and talents.  When studying highly successful people, Dr. Dweck found they had a growth mindset and did not limit themselves by having a fixed belief about their potential.  The staff and I want our students to leave Mount View Elementary School believing that their potential is unlimited and with a growth mindset, they will continue to grow and learn throughout their lifetime.

Parents and guardians can have a tremendous impact on helping students develop a growth mindset.  Melissa Taylor is a mom and writes for the blog Imagination Soup.  She has the following suggestions for parents to nurture a growth mindset in children:

1. Have daily learning discussions.

At dinner, in the car or at bedtime take time for both the kids and parents to share the answers to these types of questions:

“What did you learn to day?” (I LOVE this – so much better than “How was your day?”)

“What mistake did you make that taught you something?

“What did you try hard at today?”

 It’s really important says Dweck that I share what I learned, too. This models for kids that I learn new things every day, even learning from failures.

When children share, you can reply like this:

“You certainly did get smarter today.”

“I like the way you tried all kinds of strategies on that math problem until you finally got it right.”

“We all have different learning curves. It may take more time for you to catch on to this and be comfortable with this material, but I you keep at it like this you will.”

“Everyone learns in a different way. Let’s keep trying to find the way that works for you.”

 (These are direct quotes from Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.)

2. Give feedback on process only.

Praise effort, persistence, strategies, seeking challenges, setting goals, planning, or using creative strategies.

Don’t praise personal abilities like being smart, pretty, or artistic. This kind of praise actually can lead to a loss of confidence since kids won’t be smart at everything. They’ll doubt their ability to be good at something that is difficult initially.

Salman Khan recently wrote that he will never tell his son he’s smart for this very reason. He shares, “Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach.”

3. Do you know brains can grow?

Explain to kids how the brain can grow stronger and that intelligence can improve throughout your life. Intelligence is not fixed. It’s changeable. This is called brain plasticity. (Aren’t you so glad!?)

What’s more, learning CHANGES our brains. (Again, three cheers for brain growth!) Kids need to know this is possible.

4. Encourage risk, failing, and learning from mistakes.

Now is the time to let our kids risk and fail. Failure teaches our kids important life lessons. For one, it’s how they learn r resiliency 

But we often want to prevent our kids from failing, from feeling upset or sad. Don’t.

We must let our kids fail now so that they can strengthen their growth mindset muscles. If we don’t, they will be adults with no perseverance, with no belief in their abilities to work hard and succeed.

In The Blessings of a Skinned Knee, Wendy Mogel says to be compassionate and concerned but not enmeshed.

Let’s keep each other accountable on this. This is hard but so important.

And when your child fails, celebrate the lessons in the failure. Tell them about all the famous people who failed and didn’t give up.

5. Encourage and model positive self talk.

Finally, I think it’s worth sharing this self-talk chart from Fieldcrest Elementary. Our self talk is where it all starts to shift.

Growth Mindset Self Talk

 Here’s to a positive and production new year where we work together to develop growth mindsets in all of us! 

Take care.

Lisa Escobar


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Path to Success

This video  illustrates our bold goals for students, telling the story of Highline's path to success without a single word.