Grit and Growth Mindset

Edutopia published an article about teaching grit and growth mindset – two things I will most certainly teach (or at least start teaching) within the first few days of school.

At this point, I’m basically just re-blogging from the original source, but one of these days I’ll have actual lesson plans to post. I hope.

Grow Your Brain

Donna Wilson of Edutopia wrote an article about brain plasticity and teaching kids about how you get smarter. I definitely want to start the year off teaching students how they learn and that they must Grow Their Brain by trying hard, practicing, and pushing themselves, because no matter how “bad” students are at a subject, they CAN get better and smarter.

I definitely need to research this more, but I want to present some information about this subject to get students interested, and then maybe I’ll “turn them loose” to research, which will allow me to teach research skills and note taking. They can work together and learn collaboration, then write about and present the information to practice writing and public speaking.

I also want to have a big poster in my room that says GROW YOUR BRAIN.

Items in My Classroom

Let me rephrase: Items in My (Non-Existent) Classroom That I Wish to Have One Day When I Have a Classroom of My Own. But that title was too long.

  • student center (i.e. table or cabinet) with supplies such as paper, pencil sharpener, colored pencils, glue, scissors
  • bin or tub at tables to hold pencils and possibly other often-needed supplies
  • missing work bulletin board
  • lost and found bin
  • word wall
  • lamps
  • plants
  • book check-out and return
  • numbers hanging from the ceiling above each table (because students pick off tape holding down any paper numbers taped on desks)
  • consequence/behavior slips that look something like this:
    • step 1: conference with students
    • step 2: re-teach behavior
    • step 3: call home
  • parent contact sheet
  • file cabinet for student portfolios
  • file cabinet for evaluation evidence
  • file cabinet for copies of worksheets, examples, and assessments organized by subject and then unit
    • I’m also toying with the idea of putting these papers into individual binders with clear sleeves, but binders take up a lot of room and cost more money than simple manilla folders
  • bin with worksheets from each day for students who were absent or need an extra copy of an assignment
  • reading corner with bookshelves, lamps, and beanbag chairs
  • a poster with my contact information: skype username and e-mail
  • a poster with the classroom blog information
  • quotes
  • posters (many of authors)
  • a “where we’re from” map
  • bean bag chair(s) for quiet reading corner

Supplies at Students’ Tables

I’ve seen a few middle school teachers put containers of school supplies on at student tables. Students spend ridiculous amounts of time looking for pencils that they lost, and having pencils readily available will be a lifesaver.

Find a decorative container that can stand upright and get some pencils. Tape large plastic flowers to each pencil so students will be less likely to steal and/or lose them. The pencils stay in the class.

Other things to add to this container include hand sanitizer, small pencil sharpener, and glue. Especially with the pencil sharpener, you’ll have to make clear that each table gets one pencil sharpener at their table that year. If it gets lost or stolen, too bad. It’s their responsibility to keep it at their table.

You Are a Musician

I had a minor epiphany while watching middle school orchestras perform: being a good student is a lot like being a good musician. I can’t figure out how to insert this as a picture, but here is a link to a World document that could be converted into a classroom poster. You are a Musician

I think that teaching various behaviors and expectations using this analogy could be really powerful even if not all kiddos are musicians. I, myself, am a musician and am quite passionate about it, so I think that passion could help interest students and also help them understand certain behaviors, like walking silently in the halls.

This post is the first in a series called Gettin’ Serious. Now that I’m applying for actual teaching jobs, I need to start getting serious about how I’ll really run my classroom.