Growth Mindset Vs. Fixed Mindset

I've had a lot of frustration this year with students that aren't willing to try.  I often hear, "I can't" or "I don't want to" or "this is too hard."  There have been several nights when I have laid awake thoroughly depressed over my inability to motivate them.  Then I stumbled across something interesting on Pinterest (yeah, Pinterest!) yesterday: the concept of growth mindset vs. fixed mindset.  I spent the next two hours (oops! forgot about dinner) reading everything I could find.  It all started with a post on Twitter that someone had pinned, and ultimately led me to an excellent PowerPoint presentation by Eve Coates on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I showed it to my kids today, and it was amazing!

In clear, concise, kid-friendly language it explains how in order to learn you need to do hard things.  But it also goes into how hard things can be fun and engaging.

It talks about making mistakes, and how mistakes can actually help your brain to grow.

My second graders were thoroughly engaged throughout, and it led us into a wonderful discussion on what it means to be a successful learner.  My only regret is that I didn't find it sooner in the year!

After watching the PowerPoint, we made a chart to remind us of what growth mindset language and fixed mindset language sounded like.

Normally, I would share, but I can't since I used copyrighted images of Calvin.  It will have to suffice to say that it was easy to make with images that I found on the internet.  Once I made it, I printed it on my school's poster printer.  I added the speech bubbles as we had our discussion after watching the PowerPoint.

Oh!  I also found some great videos having to do with growth mindset and persistence here.


  1. Wow!!! Thank you for this post and the powerpoint link !! We talk a lot at the beginning of the year about effort helping your brain grow stronger and the importance of that. They even rate their effort after each lesson! But this post will help us dig deeper! Thank you.
    Curious firsties

  2. Thank you! I teach second grade also, and I'm very interested in teaching/emphasizing a growth mindset philosophy in my classroom next year. I also find that many of my students are resistant to trying when they feel they might make a mistake or when they are uncertain about something, and I think this could really help my students! I love this powerpoint, I can't wait to use it. Thanks so much!