September 1

Chapter 2- September: Everyone Can Learn!

Everyone Can Learn- what an interesting concept! In my opinion this is what everyone who goes into the field of education aspires to live up to- ensuring that all of the students in their classes learn. However, I think, with some experience, we all come to know that there are some students who do not seem to learn everything we put forth. It is important to remember that every student does learn, some more than others, as no one is the same, but everyone does indeed learn! Teaching our students about the growth mindset will likely lead to more engaged learning, more confidence and greater growth from more students.

As we set up our classrooms for the year, it is important to think of all the details. Creating a welcoming classroom environment where every student can feel safe and wanted is a precursor to the ability to learn in the space. Making the space a growth mindset zone will be very important as well. The chart on pages 45 and 46 which outlines some features of a growth-oriented classroom could be very helpful. I am currently setting up my own classroom, which is shared with 3 other adults- another LART and 2 First Nations Support Workers. Trying to create a space that would allow all of us adults our own space to work, as well as places for all of the students to work was a challenge. I do hope that the set up promotes growth- tables are placed for collaborative work to be done, there are personal spaces as well. We have a couch and bean bags set up and there are even yoga mats for those that would like to lay down to work too. Since it is the beginning of the year, there is nothing on the walls, except for the usuals- alphabet and number line, but class rules and student work will come in the future. I will have to work on the discipline piece! Maybe this should be where my growth goal lies?

Involving parents is noted as a very important aspect of teaching growth mindset. I wholeheartedly agree! I was working on teaching my grade 5 students last year and skipped this part- more because I could not decide on how to write the letter, or maybe it was complete apathy on my part. Anyways, I found that my students did not get the same information from both me and their parents which led to some students growing further in the growth mindset than others. Would it have helped to have included the parents more? I am not sure, although all the books I have read thus far indicate that it would have. I am not sure of how I will be able to include my parents this year as I work with so many different students and only for short periods of time in a day/week/year. I think that I will focus on the students I see daily for longer periods of time. I do love the letter written in the book. It really sums it up nicely and lays it out in a manageable way for parents to understand.

The lesson plan looks great! Adaptable for your needs with many different options and extensions. One thing it is lacking is the ability to use with small groups- well at least small intervention groups. For me – and maybe you?- I will need to teach my students less formally, through my actions, words and conversations about the growth mindset. I am curious to hear how others use this lesson plan. If you do end up doing this lesson, please do reflect on this post, I am really interested in how it goes!

Just a quick note- I have ventured out into the ocean on my kayak! The water was like glass, the weather was perfect and my husband asked, saying that we couldn’t ask for better conditions to try a paddle on the ocean. I agreed, told him I was scared and let him know that we had to stay very close to shore. When he agreed to my terms, we brought the kayaks down to the water and hopped in. After push-off, a few deep breaths and some self-talk to calm myself, I began paddling. We were out for at least an hour and it was wonderful! Given the right conditions, I hope to go again soon!

Now on to some questions for reflection:

Will you include your parents in the growth mindset conversation? How will you do it? A letter? A meeting, maybe at meet the teacher?

How did the lesson go with your students? Did you use this lesson or approach it some other way?

Have you had any successes or learning with your growth goal?

September 1

Part I- Trauma

Chapter 1-

In reading this chapter, I learned a whole awful lot about trauma. I mean, I have worked with students who have experienced trauma and I know that this has a huge impact on their lives both inside of school and out, but when you look at all the possible trauma-inducing incidences, I had no idea the number of students in my small school who may be dealing with trauma without us even knowing it. I loved the piece where the author, Kristin Souers, talks about know that a child has experienced trauma is enough. You do not need to know the whole story to support the child, otherwise you risk getting caught up in their story rather than supporting the child through their experience and the effect that this may have on them. I know that I am one of those people who get caught up in the story. I have used that story as an excuse for the behaviours- “It’s understandable that he is lashing out- his mother just walked away from him again without so much as a good-bye! I would be angry all the time too!”  I am looking forward diving in further and learning ways to better support this young individual.


According to researchers, there are eight adverse childhood experiences that cause trauma in a person’s life and Ms. Souers includes 6 more on top of that. These experiences happen within every socico-economic status, race, religion and gender. That means that no matter what school you are in there will be at least one student who has experienced trauma at some point in their life and is dealing with the impacts of this. The chart on page 21 was extremely shocking to me. Even 1 adverse childhood experience has dramatic effects on attendance, behaviour and health.  A child with 3 or more adverse experiences is 6.1 times more likely to have serious behaviour issues.


The information coming out of this first chapter really hits home for me at the importance of supporting students who have experienced trauma. I know that there are many students within my school who are dealing with trauma and I am certain that there are many more of whom I am unaware.


~What are your initial responses to the prevalence of trauma?  Was there anything that shocked you?

~ Are there any students on your class list that may have had an adverse experience at some point in their life? Maybe they have more than just one? How does the information from this first chapter change how you might approach the students within your class, knowing that they may have had an adverse experience without anyone’s knowledge?