The NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) Conference was amazing. My head is spinning with both things I really need to consider as a teacher, as well as a graduate student. One thing I felt convicted about is really making sure we praise kids for their effort and not for being smart.
Carol Dweck has done research on mindset and delineates between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset develops when someone focuses on how much intelligence they possess. They focus more on grades and may not want to put forth effort because they are afraid to make mistakes. They would probably prefer not to be challenged because they do not want to make a bad grade. A growth mindset exists when someone focuses on seeing opportunities to learn. Not everyone may have the same intelligence, but everyone can get smarter. Here is an article from Duke on mindset.
This is an important concept to keep in mind with gifted kids because they have often been praised for being smart and doing things with ease. They tend to translate this to mean they should be able to do well on everything with almost no effort. When things become challenging, they often do not know how to react. I have found they often resist being challenged, whine when things get hard, avoid things altogether, and act like they already know everything you can could possibly teach them. In order to help students go from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, we need to praise their effort and not their final products. Some students can make nice products with very little effort. We need to encourage them to reach to a level where they are really challenged. I have been thinking of creating rubrics that grade assignments and projects on process and not final product or at least put much less emphasis on final product.
I had already decided I wanted to spend some time this month on discussing setting goals. I really wanted to discuss SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, have an action plan, are realistic, and have a time limit.
I got on TpT and found this lesson on SMART goals. I am excited to start using it his week.
I also decided to search for a learning style inventory. I meant to do this at the beginning of the year and never did. Here is a link to a learning style inventory and prezi for free on TpT.
Here is a link to the Prezi online. It has some cute videos to go with the explanation of each learning style. The videos make it a little longer, so I may spread the lesson over a couple days. Here is an online learning style quiz I may also use.
I think we are going to start by discussing what skills we need to have accomplished by the end of the year. My students are 5th graders, so they need to think about what they need to accomplish to be ready for middle school. I may have them create like a poster or template of what makes a successful middle-schooler. I think we are going to make like a data portfolio, but focus on tracking life-skills as well as progress with the Common Core Standards. I would like us to go through as a class and create some categories for goals/skills to accomplish. Some will focus on content standards, but I also want some to focus on things like computer skills, communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. I think I am just going to jump into this process with my students and see what kinds of goals we categorize, create, and measure.
We also are going to read some biographical sketches of famous people from the book Dare to Dream over the next two weeks. I think talking about successful people is an important part of thinking about goal setting and effort. We need to think about what makes people successful.
How do you teach goal setting in your classroom?