During our first sixth-grade advisory class of the school year, we talked about growth mindset.

We saw a video that taught us that the brain is a muscle that can get stronger, and we heard a story about what the world would really be like without mistakes. We learned from the story that without mistakes, there is no progress.

We then talked about the attitude of growth mindset. We discussed learning to say that we aren’t there yet and training ourselves to think differently.

I asked the students to complete this sentence: “Instead of thinking…, I will think….”

Here’s some of what they said:

  • Instead of thinking I will have a bad, stressful day, I will think I can do this and have a good day.
  • Instead of thinking there’s no point, I will think if I work hard enough, it will work.
  • Instead of thinking no, I will think not yet.
  • Instead of thinking I can’t do this, I will think what can I do differently?
  • Instead of thinking I’m not good enough, I will think I am good at some things.
  • Instead of thinking Plan A didn’t work, let’s just give up, I will think there are 23 more plans to go.
  • Instead of thinking give up, I will think keep trying.
  • Instead of thinking I can’t do this, I will think I will keep trying to do this.
  • Instead of thinking what a failure, I will think wow, an opportunity to grow.
  • Instead of thinking I’m so bad at this, I will think if I try harder, I’ll get better at this.
  • Instead of thinking this is way too easy, I will think maybe I should try something harder.
  • Instead of thinking I don’t know how to do this, I will think where can I start from?

Click here to listen to some of the students reading their answers.

I’d say we are all off to a great start. Here’s to a year of mistakes, failures, learning, growth and success!

Andrea Silton is a middle school teacher and advisor at JCDS.

The School Sparks blog appears periodically by various writers among the JCDS educational team. Learn more about JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School.

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