Got Grit?

Grit.  Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset.  Both concepts are current buzzwords in the field of Education but they are not only for educators, students need to show just as much grit as educators.  Students also need to understand and use a growth versus fixed mindset in school.  So how do you go about teaching these two big ideas to students?  My school is tackling that notation right now.  My principal was able to attend the National Principals Association Conference in Tennessee this summer. While there she was able to hear Angela Duckworth present on grit.  My principal felt so inspired by the speech she made it our goal this year to teach our students grit as well as how to have a growth mindset over a fixed mindset.

She started by inspiring us at our back to school faculty meeting.  Every teacher received a poster to hang in there room that stated “Grit. Push Yourself to The Limited”.  It was a plain and simple statement that all students could understand.     So I started my year off with grit and I taught the students about grit.  But I didn’t just explain it to them I showed them examples.  I’ve upload a video commercial of Michael Jordan that I used with my kids.  In the commercial Michael Jordan talks about the number of missed shots, missed game-winning shots, and other mistakes he has made in his career.  However, in the end he says that he never gave up or walked off the court. I explained to my students that this is grit.  Missing 3,000 shots over the course of a career and never giving up is grit. I also shared with my students how I’m completing this program at U. of R.  I shared with them how I teach all day, go to classes twice a week and take care of two little boys’ ages 1 and 3 at home.  I told them that some days it takes all the grit I have to make it through this program.

I constantly reward grit in my students.  In small groups when students are struggling to solve a word problem and tell me it is too hard I ask them where their grit is.  They know now this means to keep pushing.  As my students leave me room on days I know that I have blown their mind, I tell them “Good grit today guys”.  In our cooperative learning groups I have actually heard my students say to one another “Where is your grit?”  “You’re using a fixed mindset”.

Now that we are nearing our holiday breaks I’m seeing my students make silly mistakes with review skills they knew weeks ago.  I believe they are tired and I see it in their work.  So my plan is to tap into their grit again and return to Michael Jordan with the students.

So it’s the fourth quarter a.k.a. SOL testing, how are you going to get your students to give it everything they’ve got?  Hopefully mine will be using their grit.

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