Make Your Classroom A Greenhouse

I have a buddy in the greenhouse business. They design and build structures of all shapes and sizes to accommodate the needs of customers all around the country. Flowers, vegetables, grasses, and trees can safely grow year-round because the company creates spaces that maintain ideal conditions for growth in spite of the environment outside of the greenhouse. 

Your classroom can become a greenhouse for growth mindsets in students. In the book Growing Positive Mindsets: Principles and Practices for Maximizing Students’ Potential, authors Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers share the following strategies for developing a growth-minded learning environment (pp. 108-109):

  1. Give students a positive greeting when they arrive each day. We never fully know what students have experienced prior to arriving at school. Some students have good mornings, and other students don’t. Work hard to make sure the first interaction a student has with you is a positive one. It sets the tone for the whole day, and it can have a tremendous positive impact on the overall mindset of the students.  
  2. Have students share their five favorite things to do. Use the information you gain from this exercise to personalize student learning and make things relevant. Connecting new content in these ways fosters growth in students. 
  3. Be intentional about giving time each day to students who struggle. The time you give should be to develop a relationship, not necessarily to address learning struggles. The more you work on the relationship piece, the more likely students are to work with you and grow. 
  4. Model empathy. As you demonstrate compassionate understanding, students are more likely to adopt similar behaviors and mindsets. Such mindsets are vital to growth. 
  5. Engage in active listening. When students feel they are fully heard, they are more likely to build relationships with you and with others. Within those relationships, growth mindset can blossom. 

As you prepare for next week, think of ways that you can make your classroom a greenhouse for growth mindsets. You and your students will be glad you did!

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