Dare to Care

create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

04/Aug/2015
by Denise Krebs
Comments Off on Mindset for Learning and Growing

Mindset for Learning and Growing

In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented. You have a choice. Mindsets are just beliefs. They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind, and you can change your mind.

Carol Dweck, Mindset, Loc 317 in Kindle.

I want to change my mindset in every area of my life! As I read Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: A New Psychology of Success, I thought of the times and areas in life that I have had a growth mindset (computers, reading and writing), and I also think of many when I have had a fixed mindset (sports, music, and learning languages).

My belief in all children’s ability to grow and learn has developed over the years. Thank God. I am saddened by some memories I have of my first years of teaching. I know I reinforced fixed mindsets in children. Even today, I still make mistakes. Carol’s book will help me, especially connecting and believing in those children who don’t believe in themselves.

I look forward to discussing Mindset with other #geniushour teachers on Thursday, 6 August, at 6 pm Pacific Time/9 pm Eastern. (Or for those in Arabia Standard Time, 4:00 a.m. on Friday.) Join us if you want to learn more about fixed and growth mindsets.

I’ve gathered below some quotes from the book on each of the two mindsets. I could have gone on and on–so many good thoughts–but I wanted to put these here as a reminder of the ideas, descriptions and vocabulary that I will need to practice, learn and teach. My goal for the coming school year is to practice and teach the growth mindset. (That’s my one sentence for this summer, Joy.)  (The Kindle location number is given for each.)

Fixed Mindset

  Growth Mindset

Fixed mindset—creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character—well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics. Loc 158

…one consuming goal—look smart, don’t look dumb. Who cared about or enjoyed learning when our whole being was at stake every time she gave us a test or called on us in class? Loc 164

…labeling themselves and throwing up their hands Loc 219

…risk and effort are two things that might reveal your inadequacies and show that you were not up to the task. Loc 227

…your qualities are carved in stone Loc 238

…a fixed ability that needs to be proven Loc 310

…fixed traits—success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Loc 313

Validating yourself. Loc 313

…children with the fixed mindset want to make sure they succeed. Smart people should always succeed. Loc 335

…fixed mindset didn’t want to expose their deficiencies…to feel smart in the short run, they were willing to put their college careers at risk. Loc 352

…fixed mindset makes people into nonlearners. Loc 353

It’s about being perfect right now. Loc 459

The fixed mindset does not allow people the luxury of becoming. They have to already be. Loc 481

…failure has been transformed from an action (I failed) to an identity (I am a failure). Loc 599

But those with the fixed mindset said they would study less for the next test. If you don’t have the ability, why waste your time? And, they said, they would seriously consider cheating! Loc 648

…instead of trying to learn from and repair their failures, people with the fixed mindset may simply try to repair their self-esteem. Loc 650

But students in the fixed mindset chose to look at the tests of people who had done really poorly. That was their way of feeling better about themselves. Loc 652

People with the fixed mindset tell us, “If you have to work at something, you must not be good at it.” They add, “Things come easily to people who are true geniuses.” Loc 725

The idea of trying and still failing—of leaving yourself without excuses—is the worst fear within the fixed mindset, and it haunted and paralyzed her. Loc 764

…that success is about being more gifted than others, that failure does measure you, and that effort is for those who can’t make it on talent. Loc 799

In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. Loc 865

…the natural does not analyze his deficiencies and coach or practice them away. The very idea of deficiencies is terrifying. Loc 1402

…key weapons of the fixed mindset—blame, excuses, and the stifling of critics and rivals. Loc 1948

You have permanent traits and I’m judging them. Loc 2928

We don’t care about who you are, what you’re interested in, and what you can become. We don’t care about learning. We will love and respect you only if you go to Harvard. Loc 3210

When teachers are judging them, students will sabotage the teacher by not trying. Loc 3417

Fixed-minded teachers often think of themselves as finished products. Their role is simply to impart their knowledge. Loc 3424

You have permanent traits and I’m judging them Loc 3596

Remember that praising children’s intelligence or talent, tempting as it is, sends a fixed-mindset message. Loc 3598

The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives. Loc 181

…your qualities can be cultivated Loc 239

…exceptional individuals have “a special talent for identifying their own strengths and weaknesses.” Loc 259

…a special talent for converting life’s setbacks into future successes. Loc 262

…creative achievement…perseverance and resilience. Loc 263

…a changeable ability that can be developed through learning Loc 310

…changing qualities—it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Loc 314

Developing yourself. Loc 314

They walk, they fall, they get up. They just barge forward. Loc 326

But for children with the growth mindset, success is about stretching themselves. It’s about becoming smarter. Loc 335

…growth mindset seized the chance. Loc 352

“I never stopped trying to be qualified for the job.” Loc 392

“This is hard. This is fun.” Loc 451

“[When] I work on something a long time and I start to figure it out.” Loc 461

“Becoming is better than being.” Loc 481

People with the growth mindset know that it takes time for potential to flower. Loc 523

A single point in time does not show trends, improvement, lack of effort, or mathematical ability.… Loc 532

Those in the growth mindset looked at the tests of people who had done far better than they had. As usual, they wanted to correct their deficiency. Loc 652

John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, says you aren’t a failure until you start to blame. What he means is that you can still be in the process of learning from your mistakes until you deny them. Loc 666

When people believe their basic qualities can be developed, failures may still hurt, but failures don’t define them. And if abilities can be expanded—if change and growth are possible—then there are still many paths to success. Loc 710

The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome. Loc 866

…even when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it. Actually, sometimes you plunge into something because you’re not good at it. Loc 936

“Come on, peach,” [Marva Collins] said to him, cupping his face in her hands, “we have work to do. You can’t just sit in a seat and grow smart.… I promise, you are going to do, and you are going to produce. I am not going to let you fail.” Loc 1151

Create an organization that prizes the development of ability—and watch the leaders emerge. Loc 2420

“I liked the effort you put in, but let’s work together some more and figure out what it is you don’t understand.” “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 if 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.” Loc 3012

Don’t judge. Teach. It’s a learning process. Loc 3160

But when students understand that school is for them—a way for them to grow their minds—they do not insist on sabotaging themselves. Loc 3417

Above all, a good teacher is one who continues to learn along with the students. Loc 3431

You’re a developing person and I’m interested in your development Loc 3597

…try to focus on the processes they used—their strategies, effort, or choices. Loc 3599

…try to figure out what they don’t understand and what learning strategies they don’t have. Remember that great teachers believe in the growth of talent and intellect, and are fascinated by the process of learning. Loc 3608

…our mission is developing people’s potential. Loc 3614

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Do You Feel Smart:
When You’re Flawless or When You’re Learning?

~Carol Dweck, Loc 452

Two Articles to Read to Help Avoid a Common Mindset Pitfall

Trying my hand at an art sketchbook. #edsketch

29/Jul/2015
by Denise Krebs
Comments Off on My Own Genius Hour in the California Desert

My Own Genius Hour in the California Desert

I’m having such a great time spending two weeks at my sister’s house. Her place is a dream come true for makers, builders, creators, and artists. Plus, it is beautiful California desert, where I’ve spent much time since my childhood.

My niece just came by and picked up a few tiles to add to the mosaic coffee table she’s making. Look at just part of the collection she had to choose from.

Lots of choices of broken and used tiles and glassware to use for mosaics and tilework.

Lots of choices of broken and used tiles and glassware to use for mosaics and tilework.

This week I tried my hand at my first ever upholstery job.

I took the chair apart and removed all the inner parts. Then my sister cut a plywood board, which was out of my range of expertise. Then I took exactly four times to put the wooden pieces back together with glue and screws. Unfortunately, my first two attempts included forgetting to put the plywood board in first. I persevered, and I called my sister for help when I really needed it.

The seat of the chair BEORE

This is what the seat looked like when I started.

I removed all the seat and decided to keep the same back.

I removed all the seat and decided to keep the same back.

We decided to put a plywood bottom on the seat instead of using webbing.

We decided to put a plywood bottom on the seat instead of using webbing.

Next I drilled and twisted wires onto the plywood. I added a really big foam pad.  I sewed a cover. I tacked it down. And one of the best parts. I did it all with found materials at my sister’s amazing place! Many of the tasks I had to do were things I had little or no previous experience doing.

I wired all the springs down onto the plywood.

I wired all the springs down onto the plywood.

I added a big foam pad with a layer of quilt batting.

I added a big foam pad with a layer of quilt batting.

It turned out really ugly, but it is comfy and I did it.

I sewed the cover and tacked it on. Here's the finished chair.

I sewed the cover and tacked it on. Here’s the finished chair.

I practiced so many of the characteristics that I encourage my students to have in genius hour. Ambiguity, generating ideas, flexibility, adaptability, self-reflection, intrinsic motivation, risk taking, and perseverance. (From the Self-Assessment of Creativity Traits.) I can talk about these qualities, but when I live them, it’s so much more powerful.

Some takeaways:

  1. I really need to give myself more time for my own genius hour projects.
  2. I need to try new ventures, to practice skills I don’t yet have, to build and make, and to challenge my preconceived ideas of what I am skilled at.
  3. Sometimes it’s OK to call someone for help when I’ve exhausted my resources.
  4. When I used repurposed and found materials it became so much more meaningful and authentic to make something useful, while also protecting the environment.
  5. I need to practice and fail over and over to really learn the characteristics of creativity like perseverance and risk taking.

Now, my next job is putting this back together.

My next project is to glue this table back together.

My next project is to glue this table back together.

16/May/2015
by Denise Krebs
4 Comments

More Genius Hour in Kindergarten

Gregerson Quote

I don’t want children to stop asking questions. I want to be the teacher that welcomes provocative questions. That’s why I so firmly believe in getting out of the way of children and letting them question and learn. Genius Hour has been a way to affirm this in my classroom.

I’ve been wondering how to do more Genius Hour in my kindergarten class. It was great with junior highers, but kindergarten has been a steep learning curve. I’m still on the uphill. Faige Meller has been a great resource for me and others. She is an active Kindergarten Genius Hour teacher! I’ve had some successes with making; I wrote about it here. I thought I’d share some more that we’ve done in our class. Perhaps some reminders for me when I start with next year’s class.

First, just like with almost any activity in kindergarten, we don’t want to start Genius Hour until we have established rapport and routines with our young learners. They need to know they are in a safe learning environment where they are loved and trusted. They need to thoroughly know and practice the community’s expectations for behavior and how they get along with others in their new learning space. This will take weeks or for me and my children, maybe months.

In the meantime, during all of your days, starting on Day 1, we want to be sure to nurture young learners’ curiosity. Welcome questions, dive into inquiry, and laugh, learn and love with your students.

My students and I adopted this “Genius Hour anthem” from Debbie Clement,  “You’re Wonderful.” It’s a conversation between teacher and students:

Teacher: I think you’re wonderful. I think you’re marvelous. I think you’re beautiful and magical and filled with curiosity and dreams.

Students: You think I’m wonderful? You think I’m marvelous? You think I’m beautiful and magical and filled with curiosity and dreams?

Students: You’re right, I’m wonderful. You’re right I’m marvelous. You’re right I’m beautiful and magical and filled with curiosity and dreams.

It continues with the children telling the teacher she’s all these things, and then together they affirm they are all wonderful, marvelous, beautiful, magical and filled with curiosity and dreams. Singing a song like this has been a good reminder that we—teacher and children—are on an amazing and extraordinary adventure of learning together.

After building rapport, establishing routines, and celebrating love of learning with our students, we can start “Genius Hour” doing a group project replete with choices and high-interest. Choose a topic that has captured children during regular school day activities. Or survey students with the simple question, “What do you want to learn?” or “What problem do you want to solve?” and then choose a popular group topic from their responses. Tell the students they are going to do a group “Genius Hour” and that they can learn whatever they want to about the topic/problem.

Before they start, gather resources–a stack of nonfiction and fiction books, art and building supplies, videos, appropriate web pages, etc. Then allow students to choose between the different resource “centers,” real choices based on the group topic/problem.

In my kindergarten English class, which includes 100% English language learners, we did two group projects for Genius Hour. One was a big numbers project. For weeks, two children had been interested in big numbers. About every other day, they would come to me trying to tell me about a number larger than the one they told me before. A thousand, a million, a billion, a billion and one.

One day I asked one of my little number engineers if he had ever heard of a googol. His eyes lit up with curiosity as he laughed at the funny word. I showed him a googol on Wikipedia. When he saw how long the number was, he was rightly impressed. He went right to work writing a one with 100 zeroes following. The learning was contagious; others joined around the computer as I read to them about this big number. Still more became interested as they learned about the nine-year-old boy, Milton, who named the large number. It turned into our first group project. One small group joined the first boy on the floor writing out a googol on long strips of cash register receipt paper. Another group wanted to put together number puzzles. Still others wanted to count to 100 with the Macarena song we had done for our 100 Day Party.

She started with 10 and added 33 sets of three zeroes, each separated with commas--one googol!

She started with 10 and added 33 sets of three zeroes, each separated with commas–one googol!

When asked later to complete the sentence, “This year, I learned____,”  one of the big number children wrote, “…how to count to a googol.” Now, I realize, of course, that he didn’t really, but for this five-year-old child, the big numbers project was a significant and memorable learning experience.

The second project the kindergarteners did centered around “zig zags.” One girl brought in a zig zag for show and tell during Z week. The next day she brought strips of paper and asked if the other children could make them too. I made time, and they all created zig zags–some more springy and shapely than others. Later, these zig zags, plus many more, turned into animals, pop-up books, greeting cards and more fun maker projects.

Finally, after several months of 1) setting up our loving and safe learning environment and 2) doing group projects, I started having students choose their own individual or small group projects.

I introduced personal Genius Hour during what was called “activity time” in the kindergarten schedule. (It is perfect because I only have half of my class of 26 at a time during activity.) We have access to an ongoing supply of art supplies, building materials, and former trash for rubbish re-creations. Our class library has books on subjects of great interest to the children.

During an earlier activity period, I had told the students that their interesting art projects reminded me of Genius Hour. (I actually had not called our group projects Genius Hour yet.) “Maybe next activity time we will do Genius Hour,” I said to them, marveling about how creative and curious they were.

One little guy asked, “What is Genius Hour?”

“It’s a time when you get to learn or make whatever you want to.”

“I like that,” he said.

Who would not like that?

08/May/2015
by Denise Krebs
Comments Off on The Genius Hour Guidebook – Coming Soon

The Genius Hour Guidebook – Coming Soon

(Originally posted at geniushour.ca)

Genius Hour Guidebook

Click book cover for link to Amazon!

By Denise Krebs and Gallit Zvi

A few years ago the two of us took a risk in our practice–we asked our students what they wanted to learn about and let them take the reins and direct their own learning. Shortly after, we began the collaborative Genius Hour website geniushour.wikispaces.com, and then the monthly Twitter chat using the hashtag #geniushour.  Along with our friends and fellow Genius Hour teachers, Hugh McDonald and Joy Kirr, we began to share Genius Hour with all the teachers that would listen.  We are both so passionate about Genius Hour and found that it not only benefited our students but also changed everything for us!

The two of us wanted to spread the Genius Hour love with even more educators, so we decided that the next step was to write a book about Genius Hour.

We have been working on this book for a couple of years now and are really honored that it has now gone to production by Routledge and MiddleWeb.  We truly hope that it will help educators implement Genius Hour with their students. Our hope is that one day all students will have the chance to work on their own Genius Hour projects.

We are so excited to announce that The Genius Hour Guidebook: Fostering Passion, Wonder and Inquiry in the Classroom is now available for presale and will be available this Fall.

Denise Krebs and Gallit Zvi

26/Apr/2015
by Denise Krebs
Comments Off on Day 26 – #AprilBlogADay – Fighting Spring Fever

Day 26 – #AprilBlogADay – Fighting Spring Fever

Engagement/lessons/tips/tricks/ideas for spring fever – age specific.

Funny, just last week, I found three ways to keep K-2 students engaged at the end of the year. Those are three things that I’m doing with my kindergarten students now. I wrote about them here.

Engagement for All Ages!

Those were for K-2, but today I’ll consider one way to engage all ages in true learning, even at the end of the year.

First of all, for all grade levels, they will be motivated if you let them have autonomy, let them have time to master, and let them choose the purpose of their learning.

From Dan Pink’s web page, the “Cocktail Party” summary of his book Drive:

When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system–which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators–doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements: 1. Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives. 2. Mastery — the urge to get better and better at something that matters. 3. Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

I believe his connections to the business operating system can be equally applied to much of the educational operating system. People, including students, are truly motivated intrinsically, not by dangling good grades, stickers, candy, or small trinkets in front of them. That doesn’t work and often does harm. Children in school need the “new approach” to motivation, as well.

At the end of the year, when motivation is not usually at a high point, it is a perfect time to allow those things that will motivate. Give more choices, ask students what they want to learn, and then get out of their way. Here are a couple ideas to get started.

1. Ask them what they learned or did this year that they would have liked to learn or do more. Perhaps it was when they had a measurement lab in science, and they got to measure all kinds of liquid and solid ingredients. Let a small group measure some more.

Maybe some others are interested in the Civil War, but you didn’t have time enough to spend on it to satisfy their appetite. Let them pursue more about the Civil War.

Maybe you have some writers. Maybe they even wrote a novel in November, but they haven’t had enough time to devote to finishing it, revising it, or starting another one. Let a small group dive into writing.

2. For those who can’t think of anything that they would like more time with, ask them what they did not learn or do this year that they wish they would have. Perhaps some of them will come up with topics of interest to them that weren’t in your curriculum. If they have chosen it, they have some purpose in learning it. If you really meant it when you asked them, let them have autonomy to make a learning decision.

If you happen to be in classroom with access to enough computers, you can let them choose something from Gary Stager’s list of things to do on a laptop.

3. Finally, as soon as everyone has something they are interested in learning, step aside and let them learn it. The teacher becomes facilitator, resource finder, cheerleader and sometimes gofer. Some of us call this kind of learning Genius Hour.  If you want to learn more, follow the hashtag #geniushour and see all kinds of amazing students all over the world learning with motivation, especially this time of year.

4. Have everyone choose a way to share their learning with the class.   They can write a blog post. They can make a presentation, demonstration, or model for the class. They can make a movie or photo essay of their learning.

Enjoy! Your students will love you for it! The year will be over soon, so if you haven’t tried Genius Hour before now, this is a perfect time to do a beta version of Genius Hour. Save all your notes for next year to make it even better.

Do you have any other advice for engagement / lessons / tips / tricks / ideas for spring fever?

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