Following the challenges of SATs and prior to Year 6’s departure to secondary, it is an important time to encourage the children to reflect on their mindset and their learning journey.
The image of a winding road with the destination hidden in the distance is an excellent stimulus for a discussion about our learning journey. The lack of an obvious destination reflects the ongoing nature of learning and encourages the children to see themselves as ‘life long learners’. The class teacher can share this stimulus with the children and model their own learning journey by discussing what they learned to do at certain points in their life so far, for example learning to ride a bike, drive a car, sitting exams, etc. The children could be asked to discuss with a partner what helped their teacher to learn to do the different things.
This activity could then be developed further by the teacher sharing some of the mistakes they made on their learning journey, for example falling off their bike, failing a test or giving up on something as they decided it was too hard. The children should then be asked to discuss what factors contributed to the mistakes and what they would say to their teacher to help them at that time. The children could then create their own pictorially representation of their learning journey so far through art or an app such as Adobe Spark.
My Fantastic Elastic Brain
The changing form of spaghetti is a highly effective way of illustrating the malleability and elasticity of our brains. Show the children pieces of spaghetti or noodles, and ask them to think about how they feel. Can the children suggest words to describe their texture? Encourage the children to use words such as fragile, brittle, easily broken to describe them. Explain to the children that they are like the brain when you have a fixed mindset as you are much more likely to give up, to break and to stop yourself from learning.
Next share with the children some cooked spaghetti that have cooled. Again, ask the children to describe the texture encouraging them to use words such as stretchy, flexible, bendy and malleable. Use this type of spaghetti or noodles to illustrate the brain when it has a growth mindset. Ask the children to discuss with their partner why they are like a growth mindset and the differences between the two versions of spaghetti. To develop this further, ask the children to reflect upon when they have demonstrated the different types of mindset and have been a successful learner. Can the children think of a particular area in the future where they might utilise a growth mindset?
Growth Mindset Lessons by Katherine Muncaster, with Shirley Clarke, is out now.
Learn more and download another sample lesson and assembly here.