Professional development activities and resources

Growth Mindset Professional Development Activities

  • Language Tracking Worksheet and Language Tracking Worksheet Instructions
    *Can be modified to use with students.* Learning to identify fixed and growth mindset language is an important step in cultivating a growth mindset. This worksheet for tracking growth and fixed mindset language that you hear throughout the week provides an opportunity to actively practice identifying each and can expose points of confusion. It can be used with teachers working in professional learning teams or with middle and high school students.
  • Fixed and Growth Mindset Language—Common Points of Confusion
    This handout is paired with the Language Tracking Worksheet (see above). This sheet provides fixed/growth/neutral statements that educators have shared with us that are great examples of common points of confusion.
  • Growth Mindset Scenarios Worksheet
    This worksheet provides scenarios for educators to practice how to respond in situations when they hear students, parents, or other teachers speaking in fixed mindset ways.
  • Reframing for a Growth Mindset
    This worksheet provides opportunities to practice changing fixed or ambiguous statements into growth mindset statements.
  • Mistakes Reflection Worksheet
    *Can be modified to use with students.* Taking time to reflect on how we respond to our own mistakes can help us recognize opportunities for developing more growth mindset oriented self-talk. This activity can help educators reflect on their own reaction to making mistakes and to rewrite any fixed mindset reactions they had. It could also be used with older students.
  • Growth Mindset Familiarity Activity
    If you are conducting a workshop or giving a presentation on growth mindset, this activity can give you a sense of where participants are at with regards to their prior knowledge about growth mindset. It will also let you know how convinced they are that mindsets are important and what areas of uncertainty they may have, which can help you pace your presentation.
  • There’s No Limit: Mathematics Teaching for a Growth Mindset
    A summary of dissertation work by Dr. Kathy Liu Sun. In this study, Sun examined the relationship between teachers’ classroom practices and students’ beliefs about math ability. She found that teachers’ mindsets were not predictive of students’ mindsets. Instead, teachers' views of math and their classroom practices were found to predict mindset. This research highlights the importance of specific classroom strategies for supporting students in developing growth mindsets.
  • Checklist of Growth Mindset Teaching Practices
    This checklist of growth mindset teaching practices is based on Kathy Liu Sun’s Research (see above). This 1-page handout provides a way to more easily track which growth mindset promoting practices you are incorporating in your classroom.
  • Making Friends with Your Fixed Mindset
    *Can be modified to use with students.* We are all susceptible to having fixed mindset reactions in certain situations. In this activity, participants are asked to identify what kinds situations trigger them to respond in fixed mindset ways, and to strategize ways to respond more adaptively in the future.
  • Mindset Integration Activity—Facilitator Instructions
    *Can be modified to use with students.* This activity asks participants to make connections between fixed/growth mindset beliefs and the behaviors that flow from each belief. It also provides an opportunity for participants to solidify their understanding of what kinds of teaching and/or parenting practices promote a fixed or growth mindset.
  • Growth / Fixed Mindset Continuum Activity
    *Can be modified to use with students.* This activity helps participants understand we all have both fixed and growth mindsets about different abilities/traits/skills. It encourages participants to explore their own beliefs and hear from others about why they believe what they do.
  • Classroom Culture Brainstorming Activity Facilitator Guide
    This activity is designed for teams of educators to use during a professional learning workshop. The goal is to provide participants with an opportunity to share their best practices and generate new ideas on how to create a strong learning mindset culture in their classrooms/schools.
  • Implementation Planning Worksheet
    This worksheet is designed to be used in conjunction with a Brainstorming Activity to give workshop participants an opportunity to plan out how they will implement a new practice. It can be used in any workshop where participants would benefit from planning time on implementing a new practice.
  • Feedback for Growth Strategies
    This handout provides suggestions for how to frame common feedback messages so that they focus students' attention on the processes involved in mastering a learning goal and on normalizing mistakes and struggle as helpful during learning.
  • Growth Mindset Brainstorming Activity Facilitator Guide
    This activity is designed to help workshop or study group participants integrate what they have learned about growth mindset—either through attending a presentation or by going through the online growth mindset modules on the—into their classroom or school practices.
  • Growth Mindset Notes Tracker
    *Can be modified to use with students.* This notes tracker handout can be useful for participants attending a presentation on growth mindset or those independently going through the Mindset Kit modules.
  • Writing Your Growth Mindset Story
    *Can be modified to use with students.* Sharing a personal story with students about how having a growth mindset helped you accomplish something challenging can be a powerful way to model what having a growth mindset means. This reflective writing activity is designed to help you identify and refine a story from your own life that you could share with your students. This activity can be modified for use with students or mentors.

Peer Observation Tools

Just as students need feedback to grow their abilities and skills, so do teachers. When teachers can work together to provide each other feedback, they gain valuable insight on how to improve their practices. Below are several tools teacher teams can use to help with this process.

  • Peer Observation Worksheet
    This worksheet can be used to write notes during an observation.
  • Peer Observation Debrief Worksheet
    This worksheet provides a series of questions to guide the debriefing process after an observation. It can be completed by both the observed teacher and the observer. It can be helpful to have a discussion afterwards to share what was discovered.
  • NSRF Observation Protocol Video Camera
    If teachers have never worked together to do peer observations, it may be unnerving or even threatening. This protocol from NSRF provides a framework for working together in a way that will feel respectful and safe.
  • Thinking Critically About Practice
    This video by the Teaching Channel about the peer observation process can be helpful for introducing teaches to the idea of peer observation.

Creating a Safe Educator Team Environment

The value of professional learning communities comes from participants feeling safe to give and receive feedback, explore solutions to challenges, and test new ideas without fear of judgement. These two resources can help educator teams build trust by creating agreements on how to work together effectively and respectfully.

  • Communication Skills for Effective Collaboration
    This document provides some suggestions for communication practices that educator teams may want to adopt to help build effective collaborative relationships within their professional learning communities.
  • NSRF Forming Ground Rules
    Ground Rules, or Norms, are important for a group that intends to work together on difficult issues, or who will be working together over time. Starting with basic Ground Rules builds trust, clarifies group expectations of one another, and establishes points of “reflection” to see how the group is doing regarding process. This protocol can help groups identify what their ground rules and norms will be. Over time, they can be added to, or condensed, as the group progresses.
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