February 5

Chapters 7 and 8

Chapter 7- Gifted Education and Growth Mindset

All children deserve to have an education to meet their needs, be it below grade level, at grade level or above grade level. Differentiation, as mentioned it Chapter 3, meets all of these educational needs. Is there a need to put a name to above average students if their needs are being met?

According to this Chapter, the word “gifted” comes with similar connotations to “talent” and “smart”. It implies that a child’s intelligence is set in stone, not something that can change. A gifted child is a gifted child, they should not experience any difficulties in the area in which they are gifted. Telling a child that they are gifted may end up being a negative for them, causing them to stop taking risks and playing it safe to ensure that they can keep their gifted status.

Instead of calling a child gifted, Mary Cay Ricci suggests changing the wording. Saying that a child has high potential or is a highly motivated student, in her opinion, would be more akin to allowing for a growth mindset.

  1. What are your thoughts on the terms Mary Cay Ricci suggests using instead of using the term “gifted”?
  2. Does your school or district have any supports in place for “gifted” students? Do these programs support a growth mindset? If not, how might you change it to support a growth mindset for these students?

Chapter 8- What are Some Ways To Help Students Adopt a Growth Mindset?

In my opinion, this is the most important section in the book as it sheds some light into how to teach this topic to the students. A huge part of teaching students about growth mindset is to teach them about the brain. I found this to be a very fun unit for my students. We learned how different pathways are formed and how we can change our pathways with practice and repetition.

We have also been doing a lot of STEM projects and it is very interesting to see which students are beginning to adopt a growth mindset and which students have a fixed mindset. One of my students has such a fixed mindset that when she came up against a challenge, she turned her back on her group, crossed her arms and very adamantly said “I give up!” While other students, when faced with an impossible task- less than 10 minutes to create a working model, when nothing has worked up until that point- said “I know that this is not going to work, but I am not giving up! I am going to use all of my time and try to get it figured out.”

Mary Cay Ricci has also published a book entitled “Ready to Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom”. I have not yet taken a look at this book, but I have purchased it and it should be here very soon. I am interested to see what is in this book and how it can help me to support my students on their paths to growth mindsets.

  1. Do you have any students that have demonstrated any moments of growth mindset? Do you have any students that demonstrate a real fixed mindset?
  2. What are some ideas you have for implementing lessons on growth mindset? How or where would you integrate it into the curriculum?
  3. Have you already tried to implement growth mindset lessons? What went well? What might you change?
  4. If you have not implemented  any of the growth mindset lessons, where will you begin?

Posted February 5, 2017 by tiebcmembers in category Mindsets in the Classroom

10 thoughts on “Chapters 7 and 8

  1. Brandi

    I agree with Marcy Cay Ricci when she suggests that you should use terms such as “high-potential learners” instead of the term “gifted” for students. Using the term “gifted” labels a child that they will be the best at everything, where as “high-potential learners” shows that they have potential to grow as learners.
    Our school provides “enrichment” to students who are high-potential learners. It is not mandatory to do so, but classroom teachers provide challenging instruction to those students who are advanced for their grade level.
    I have had students that have demonstrated a growth mindset, but more often I see students demonstrating a fixed mindset. With these students, you have to be creative and teach growth mindset on a daily basis. I have not implemented a growth mindset lesson, but I want to start this week! Mary Cay Ricci outlines the elementary pre-assessment in Figure 7 on page 100. It will be the perfect place to start to see where my students’ basic knowledge is, and where I will need to differentiate for each learner. I am interested in how my students will answer the questions on page 106. I think this should be done with a one-to-one interview to see if they fit in a fixed or a growth mindset. The sample learning tasks will help build knowledge and show my students that putting in effort/doing your best will increase their growth mindset. There are some great YouTube videos on growth mindset for students, as well as many manipulatives (through our District Learning Commons maker kits) to help with our visual and kinesthetic learners.

    1. Nicky

      I know for this chapter we are focusing on “gifted” students but, wouldn’t it be nice if all students were viewed as “high-potential learners?” I believe that all students regardless of their “label” have the potential to grow as learners thus, would’t it be nice if they viewed themselves the same way…

      1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

        What a great way to look at students, “high-potential learners.” I agree that every student has potential to grow as learners. It is our fixed mindsets that prevent students from this growth, especially for the LD or other gray area students, whose growth may not be as visible. Once someone believes that you are not able to grow, it is not difficult to live up to that. It requires no effort at all. We need to show our belief in each and every student daily, let them all know that they are learners and show them that learning requires effort as well.

    2. Carla Lowther

      Shelley Moore is all about pre-assessment as well. In fact, I was using it at the end of Jan. when I was at a SMART workshop. I think we need to be doing this all the time, but it is hard to get high school teachers to agree when they have a curriculum that they need to get through in order for students to get credits for their courses.

  2. Robin Coogan-Penner

    I was struck by the discussion of using the word “gifted” for students and how that can lead them to form a fixed mindset. I think that changing it to high potential is a better idea, as it highlights their ability to grow and achieve, not they have possibly attained the highest level they could. When I was in high school, they place a group of us in to a “high performer” program, which I hated. I hated the label and I hated being set apart from others in a different class. It made me not want to try as much as I had previously, when I was in a “normal” class with everyone else, so I can totally understand how changing the wording can help and also how if a student’s needs are being met in a classroom, is it really necessary to put this label on them? My students are also very motivated to learn about the brain and how it works. They especially liked seeing how hard the brain works and how much of it is working when they are challenged with something. Also, talking directly about fixed and growth mindsets and asking them to identify what they think they have in different areas in their life or at school. Then have them choose one fixed area and have them come up with some steps to help them move it to a growth mindset.

    1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

      My students loved learning about the brain too! I have fallen short in my teaching about the growth mindset as everything else seems to get in the way. I like your idea of asking them to identify whether they have a growth or fixed mindset in different areas of their school life and life outside of school. Thanks for the idea!

    2. Carla Lowther

      “Then have them choose one fixed area and have them come up with some steps to help them move it to a growth mindset.” We have 6 pillars at our school. Kids have to pick one or two of them and speak about them and how they impact them in their everyday lives when they do their Mid-Year Celebration of Learning and Transitional Presentation of Learning presentations.

  3. Carla Lowther

    In SD #60 (Peace River North = Fort St. John) we do have the word “gifted” being used. We offer a program for kids Gr. 4-9. It is enrichment only. A few times a year those students chosen as gifted meet together for a day and do some exciting things that Learning Services puts together. My oldest was labelled as gifted in Gr. 4. (He is now 20.) When he was in Gr. 5, he went to a new school in a 5-7 class of gifted kids only at what was considered the richest school in town. (The catchment area had more income than other parts of FSJ at the time.) While there were amazing learning opportunities there, he also experienced a lot of negative things that still impact him to this day. That class no longer exists. Problems with the word “gifted” in my opinion include the fact that people are often “gifted” in one area but not all. There is such an expectation on those kids to be better at everything than people who are “normal”. Growth Mindset is taught at our school – Energetic Learning Campus – all the time through our PBL projects. Yes, we definitely have those who have a fixed mindset. They are very difficult to deal with at times. It is very interesting when their peers tell them they don’t want to be partners with them because of their attitudes. They don’t use the word “fixed mindset”, but that is what they are referring to. It has actually made some of those stubborn students with “fixed mindset” change the way they interact with others. Some, it has done nothing but make them mad, b/c it is always someone else’s fault. Sarah, where did you get Ricci’s other book? I’d like to get it myself.

  4. Gail

    This book has really made me think about the whole gifted label. I definitely agree that it can be negative and that high potential learner is a better term. I also like the idea that all children can be considered to have high potential. I worked with a boy in grade 6 who had an IEP for being gifted, but who was not doing well in French immersion. IT seemed that he received the label of giftedness because he outperformed his peers when he was in the primary grades. Some students do learn quickly and with enriched experiences can be further ahead of their peers, but then later, the differences between them and their peers can lessen. THis can be a very negative experience for a student who then sees themselves as a failure because they no longer fit the term gifted.
    My oldest child was labelled gifted in grade three after the school district assessed him. He was able to learn easily in all areas and would delve into his chosen topic with great enthusiasm until he became satisfied with his knowledge and then he would choose a different area to delve into. Even before he received the gifted label, he would hang back and carefully observe new experiences before he would try them, just in case he couldn’t do it perfectly. He had high expectations of himself from the start. ONce, I took him to a gifted conference and the message that he came back with was that just because he could do everything well, didn’t mean he had to. At first, I didn’t like this message, but later I realized that it gave him permission to put his effort into what he most cared about, and that he did not need be perfect in everything.
    I also think that his gifted label affected my other children, as it would affect other students. They may not have felt that they had as much potential without the same label. But they all have their areas of high achievement and potential as well. I feel that I will be very hesitant to use the term gifted going into the future.

  5. Rhonda

    I tried the Sample Learning Tasks #1 & #2 with my class of grade 2/3 students. Students gave me the common responses as mentioned on page 101 in regards to what is in their head. I had students complete the thumbs up and thumbs down activity anonymously. I was surprised to find that most of my students agreed with the growth mindset belief. I noted the students who agreed with the fixed growth belief and I’m now curious as to how this belief affects them. I keep the sponge in water as an ongoing visual reminder to students – especially ones who have challenges engaging – that their brain wants to soak up everything that is being taught. The thread and string are also kept out to encourage students to make a strong connections by continuing even when learning is tough. I look forward to completing the other Sample Learning Tasks.


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