Starting the Year with Growth Mindset

MistakesSchool has not started just yet, but I am already excited to grow with my students. I am ready to launch into Growth Mindset from the beginning of the year. I have found in years past, I’ve often back pedaled to teach Growth Mindset. This back pedaling happens once I hear students use discouraging language or underestimate their own accomplishments. So in terms of growing: this year I will lead with Growth Mindset.

I am going to lead this dialogue with a series of read aloud books. I picked these books, because they specifically focus not on academic growth.

Bubble Gum Brain

This is a fun visual to introduce the idea of Growth Mindset to students, featuring fun cartoon illustrations. I recommend implementing the vocabulary of “Bubble Gum Brain” and “Brick Brain” from this book into your class.

Iggy Peck, Architect

A story about a young architect who, with his second grade class, builds a bridge out of unlikely materials.

Rosie Revere, Engineer

Rosie decides to build a flying machine to help her aunt achieve her goals.

The Dot

Vashti is not allowed to leave art class until she draws something, and that is when she discovers her hidden talent.


After or in between these read alouds, I plan to introduce the concept of “Bucket Lists”: skills my students my students wish to foster in the upcoming year. “Bucket List” topics can be linked to the above books by referencing the skills of building, inventing, and drawing, while connected to the students’ lives by having them share skills they wish to develop further.

With your new students in the upcoming year, keep it open ended! I use the below bucket list writing activity to root the students in their goal setting. The pages of the bucket are interchangeable and can be completely customizable to each student. For the younger grades, or students intimidated by writing, there are blank pages for just pictures of their Bucket List goals.

Here are the links to the bucket lists for each grade level: firstsecondthirdfourthfifth, and sixth.

These bucket lists also make great beginning/end of quarter activities as a fresh start! It is a great way for students to independently reevaluate: what goals have I met and what goals have I yet to meet?


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