Growth Mindset Activities: High School | Examples | Quiz | Article | Lesson Plan

Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Homeschool
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86 pages
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Frustrated with students who refuse to accept feedback or take on any new challenges?

When students have a fixed mindset about your class, they can be almost impossible to teach. Some feel hopeless, convinced that they are simply “bad" at English, and sure that there is nothing that they can do to improve the situation. Others define themselves as “good” at English, but never want to push themselves or try anything new—they’re so terrified of failure, that they want to play it safe at all times.

These kinds of students are miserable to teach. They’re so stuck in their ways and worried about looking bad that they can even cause problems in classroom management. When they are challenged or pushed beyond their comfort zones, they act out, get confrontational, and bring down the rest of your class with them. It’s so easy to give up on these teens and believe that nothing will help them to change.

On the other hand, students with a growth mindset love feedback and thrive on new challenges—and even failure—because they know it will all help them to grow and learn. They're a pleasure to have in the classroom because their positive attitudes help them to get something out of every class. And they help to lift up those around them because they know that comparison and competition make everyone unhappy.

While teaching students to take on a growth mindset can do wonders for the class climate and for your relationships with your students, it’s not always easy to help students make that shift. You have to make sure that your methods of teaching are consistent with the research on what actually works to improve students’ learning if you want to help them to change.

I’ve spent countless hours researching growth mindset and the resources included in this bundle are based on scientific studies, the experts' advice, and my own sixteen years in the classroom. They’ll work great for interactive notebooks, and they tap into multiple learning styles.

These lessons also make great choices for online remote teaching because the clear instructions and structured questions are written for students to tackle independently. Additionally, the concrete text-based questions discourage cheating and encourage students to answer for themselves.

The variety of materials, real-life connections, and innovative approaches to the texts will keep students engaged and excited about learning--even as they learn from home in more distracting environments..

When your students complete these units, they will:

  • get excited about the unit when they start off with a fun “quiz” to see if they have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset about their lives

  • watch an engaging TED Talk that will help them better understand the research behind growth mindset and the brain science behind the theories

  • be more willing to take on challenges and make mistakes when complete a cooperative research project on real-life examples of people who have succeeded because of their growth mindset (and their epic failures)

  • complete a close reading of three poems and a challenging non-fiction article using the no-prep handouts

  • become more comfortable reading challenging nonfiction texts after they reflect on their own attitudes on reading and grapple with a rigorous text using the needed scaffolding

  • learn to appreciate their painful life experiences when they write a personal essay about a past failure

  • be so much easier to teach when they learn the value of accepting feedback, taking on new challenges, and even failing

Included in this bundle are the following resources, all available at a discount when you buy them together :

*Optimized for teaching with Google Classroom

*Growth Mindset Activity: Growth Mindset Introduction | TED Talk, Question, Quiz (normally priced at $1.97). This two-day introductory unit introduces students to the theory and starts them on a path to redefine areas in their own lives where they have a fixed mindset. After the lesson, students will have a good sense of the difference between growth mindset and fixed mindset. Included in this resource are links to the handout that Dweck created to teach her students about the growth mindset, a pre unit "quiz" for students to begin to understand their views on learning and effort, and questions on a TEDtalk video that will more fully explain growth mindset and fixed mindset to your classes. You can view the preview of this resource by clicking here.

*Growth Mindset Activities | Growth Mindset Nonfiction | Critical Thinking (normally priced at $2.99). In the informational text featured in this lesson, Malcolm Gladwell explores the relationship between a fixed mindset and the Enron scandal. Gladwell is a great choice for teaching literary nonfiction in your class. A staff writer for The New Yorker, he is also the author of The Tipping Point, Outliers, and Blink. This lesson also includes questions for close reading and metacognitive questions to get students to evaluate their own reading habits and patterns. You can view the preview of this resource by clicking here.

*Growth Mindset Activity | Poetry Analysis & Poetry Close Reading | "Invictus" (normally priced at $2.99). Focusing on two poems, “The Writer” by Richard Wilbur and “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley, these lessons will challenge your students to further explore the concept of growth mindset by doing close readings of these powerful poems, and by exploring themes such as perseverance, struggle, and grit. The handouts of thorough and precise questions are ready to go with minimal prep on your part. There are also prompts for in-class writing as well as for longer assessment. You can view the preview of this resource by clicking here.

*Poetry Lesson to Teach Close Reading and Literary Analysis: Adrienne Rich, (normally priced at $1.47). When they complete this poetry lesson on Adrienne Rich's poem "Diving Into the Wreck," students will feel empowered to comprehend this approachable yet profound text. By exploring Rich's extended metaphor of deep-sea diving they will also write and think about abstract concepts such as self-exploration, dealing with the past, the scars of trauma, and the process of turning pain into art. You can view the preview of this resource by clicking here.

*Growth Mindset Examples | Growth Mindset Research | Collaborative Project (normally priced at $4.97). Carol Dweck herself, in an article published in Scientific America on January 1, 2015, recommends that students learn about people who have found success through their determination: "One way is by telling stories about achievements that result from hard work.” There are a three different options for this project. Students will first research eight different individuals who have found great success in their fields and who have failed—sometimes epically. Students will then complete a jigsaw activity, a mixed media poster, or a group informational essay based on their findings. Included in this packet are handouts with research questions and instructions for the three different options, two different versions of a chart for students to fill out on the other seven individuals, discussion questions to bring the presentations together, and a rubric to grade the mixed media poster. You can view the preview of this resource by clicking here.

Growth Mindset Narrative Writing Unit | Growth Mindset Examples | Mentor Texts (normally priced at $9.97). Writing about our painfully embarrassing memories, our biggest flops, or our most tragic failures is not always fun—but it does make for great essays and even better learning experiences. Some of my favorite published essays and student essays are included in this resource—and they all about failures of one kind or another! If you really want your students to internalize the concepts of growth mindset, you need to get them reflecting on their own lives. The lessons included here will teach your classes how to write effective personal essays, and they will also get them to reframe the way that they view failure in their own lives You can view the preview of this resource by clicking here.

Bonus items include a suggested unit schedule, a guide and rubric for holding a graded discussion, a prompt for a synthesis essay, and a graphic organizer for organizing that essay. Also included in this bundle: a letter to parents explaining the science behind the theory and what they can do to help their students. Bonus items are not included in any of the bundled products.

Texts covered in this resource include the following. (Copies of some are not included because of copyright laws.)

“Diving Into The Wreck” by Adrienne Rich

“The Writer” by Richard Wilbur

“Invictus” by William Ernest Henley

“Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan

“My Father Smokes” by Alice Walker

“Finishing School” by Maya Angelou

“Us and Them” by David Sedaris

"The Talent Myth" by Malcolm Gladwell

Challenge your students to become more resilient learners who are not afraid to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from their failures by getting them to change the way they view their lives.

"Wonderful and thought-provoking resource!"--Erika W.

"Incredible resource for helping with building the growth mindset!"--Gabriela H.

Total Pages
86 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 month
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.
Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.
Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


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