We asked:

How might we, as a community of learners, grow in our knowledge and understanding to enhance the growth mindset of each of our young learners?

As a team, we have completed Jo Boaler’s How to Learn Math: For Students and have shared our thinking, understanding, and learning.

Blending online and face-to-face learning, we worked through the Stanford units outside of school so that we could explore and learn more when together.

Here are some of the reflections shared by our team.

As a teacher my goal is to help children approach math and all subject areas with a growth mindset. It is of utmost importance that my students truly know that I believe in them and their ability to succeed!

Everyone my age should know that you should never equate being good at math with speed. Just because someone is a slower problem solver does not mean that they are a weak math student. Rather, sometimes the slower math thinkers are the strongest math thinkers because they are thinking about the problem on a deeper level. Being good at math is about being able to think deeply about the problem and making connections with it.

When talking to yourself about your work and learning new things, reminding yourself that you can try harder and improve is critical to potential success. People are more willing to persevere through difficult tasks (and moments in life) when they engage in positive self talk.

Mistakes and struggling, in life and in math, are the keys to learning, brain growth, and success.

Thinking slowly and deeply about math and new ideas is good and advantageous to your learning and growth.

Taking the time to think deeply about math problems is much more important than solving problems quickly. The best mathematicians are the ones who embrace challenges and maintain a determined attitude when they do not arrive at quick and easy solutions.

Number flexibility is so powerful for [students]. I love discussing how different students can arrive at the same answer but with multiple strategies.

Working with others, hearing different strategies, and working strategically through problems with a group helps to look at problems in many different ways.

“I am giving you this feedback because I believe in you.” As teachers, we always try to convey implicitly that we believe in our students, and that they are valued and loved in our class. However, that explicit message is extraordinary. It changes the entire perception of corrections or modifications to an essay–from “This is wrong, you need to make it right” to “I want to help you make this the best it can be,” a message we always intended to convey, but may not have been perceived.

Good math thinkers think deeply and ask questions rather than speeding through for an answer.

Math is a topic that is filled with connections between big ideas. Numbers are meant to be manipulated, and answers can be obtained through numerous pathways. People who practice reasoning, discuss ideas with others, have a growth-mindset, and use positive mathematical strategies (as opposed to memorization) are the most successful.

We learn and share.

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