A good chunk of time was needed. Clips from YouTube were used such as Madge and Mildred and children enacted being neurons connecting in the playground. The feedback from children was instant. Children who play the guitar said they had tried to tune their guitars and succeeded. They all felt great.
In another school the differentiated maths challenges via mixed ability showed that lower achievers were able to tackle more challenging tasks than they would otherwise have been given.
Teachers had used the celebrity ordering task, giving reasons why they had chosen their order of intelligence. Initially they felt that intelligence was not creative but they are beginning to understand the complexity.
The taxi driver research had opened children’s eyes to the importance of practise and perseverance. They are developing more confidence to say they can’t do something yet.
The learning powers had led to children noticing them in other children. One class had a bald hedgehog for ‘have a go’ and added a spike to its body every time they ‘earned’ a spike.
Quotes from my class:
‘I don’t know yet’ means you’re not quite sure but if you just say ‘I don’t know’ it kind of means you don’t want to know it.
‘I can’t’ is kind of saying you can’t do it and you’re not trying at all.
In order to determine current mindsets the children were given differentiated comic mazes, which were more successful than different levels of Sudoku. Questionnaires were inconclusive because children wrote what they thought was expected. Teachers also used Lego building and origami models. Higher achievers tended to be fixed and lower to have growth mindsets. After class discussions about neurons, mistakes and feelings children were less worried about making mistakes and are proud of making new connections. They realise that the brain is a muscle.
When discussing how we felt when we make mistakes, one girl said she felt like a crumpled piece of paper. We crumpled up a piece of paper and drew lines on the crumples to represent the brain and the synapses.
‘I can’t do it YET!’ has given the children more confidence. An “I’m stuck’ board was displayed in classrooms in one school with ‘3 before me’ as the mantra (3 strategies before going to the teacher).
The learning powers/octopus display board had been integrated with the school values in one school and teachers were intending to create stories for each one. Children are using the language of learning and one SEN child now talks about his growth mindset as well. The powers are being integrated with success criteria to give children personal learning targets.
Children in one class found that they could be either growth or fixed depending on their mood that day. If they had a good sleep and didn’t fight with their siblings or parents they were more likely to be growth. This resulted in displays of different examples of what someone would say if they were fixed and the same for growth. Children are now learning strategies, such as brushing it off your shoulder, when they walk into class to leave their negative attitude of ‘I can’t do it’ outside the classroom.
Fiona Large | firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicola Parker | email@example.com