Reading Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools, by Mary Cay Ricci, has got my head spinning. I’m reeling trying to think of ways that I can implement some of the great ideas in my own classroom.
I hope my pondering benefits you–later in the post, I have a free formative assessment printable and a differentiated planning map.
I’m afraid that many of my students suffer under the cloud of deficit thinking. Deficit thinking involves educators making assumptions about them based on their race, low income status, or English language acquisition. I hope I don’t do that.
The trouble with deficit thinking is that students begin the internalize and reflect those attitudes. This leads to underachievement and failure.
So mindset is incredibly important to student success. My friend Brigid at Math Giraffe discusses chapter 1, which is all about fixed and growth mindsets, HERE. A fascinating take-away is the plasticity of IQ. Chapter 2, discussed by my friend Ellie at Middle School Math Moments, suggests ways to build a growth mindset at your school. Read about it HERE.
Chapter 3 is all about differentiation. Ricci argues that a growth mindset cannot be achieved without differentiation. And that makes sense. If you do not meet students where they are in order to guide them higher, they will not grow. It’s the proverbial, “You have to learn to crawl before you learn to walk.”
Ricci suggests taking the following steps to differentiate your classroom:
1. Preview and Pre-assess
2. Implement Flexible Grouping
3. Use Formative Assessment
4. Use Relevant Summative Assessment
Preview and Pre-assess
Implement Flexible Grouping
She also recommends anchor activities (though not busy work–enrichment) for early finishers so that you are free to work with other groups. I have some ideas for implementing stations as anchors in the secondary classroom HERE.
|Get It HERE
Use Formative Assessment
Use Relevant Summative Assessment
In a truly differentiated classroom, each group will not have the same assessment because each group will be learning differently. The assessment should match the learning that has taken place and challenge students appropriately.
Summative assessment need not be a test. It can be a project or a product–just be sure to offer choices on these because you want to be sure to assess the content or skills they are learning and not something else (for example, you don’t want to assess their art abilities when you are trying to assess their knowledge of WWII).
So that’s the gist of chapter 3–it’s all about front-end differentiating, which begins by assessing students where they are from the moment they walk through the door. Here’s a quick visual for lesson planning to build a classroom culture of success:
|Check Out the Next Chapter
I am really learning a lot from this book. Hop on over to my friend Andrea’s site, Musings of a History Gal to check out the next chapter–coming next Monday!
What do you think about the book? How do you try to build a mindset of success and achievement in your classroom? Let me know in the comments!