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This past summer I read the book Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. I have decided to use this on the first day of school by introducing students to the concepts of growth and fixed mindsets in an effort to help them see that abilities are things you can "grow" and improve throughout the year!
Included is a student-friendly questionnaire to help students determine what mindset they posses as well as a PowerPoint explaining what a growth mindset is and examples of how they and others can approach challenge. You don't have to read the book (though I highly recommend it!) to incorporate the theme that "Smarter is not something you are, it's something you get."