August 27, 2016

Ninja Mindset

It is important for us as educators to build students up and let them know they can achieve anything. It is of utmost importance that we help students build confidence in themselves. It is even better if we can teach students how to build themselves up to be internally strong and confident. 

Utilizing growth mindset activities with students who don't always have the best mindset for success can be extremely beneficial. Once a student changes their internal dialogue and mentally prepares themselves to achieve, anything is possible.

If students can learn to change their mindset, they may change their life. 

I was trying to
 convey the growth mindset ideas to a fourth grade boy who was totally over listening to me. I was sticking with it and trying not to lose him, but I could tell he was gone and could care less. I finally peaked his attention when I said to him, "Who do you know that believes in themselves and because of that self-belief is able to do anything?" 

He responded with, "Ninjas."

With that, we talked about the ninja mindset, how ninjas set themselves up for success and I could see light bulbs going off in his head.

“Ninjas don’t let themselves quit. They are stronger than that. I have to be like the ninja.”

I love it when a kid makes a connection.

When I got home, I designed a bunch of things utilizing the ninja mindset theme. We meet once a week, I couldn’t wait to see him again.
The next time we met, we read and discussed the Ninja Mindset Poster set.  I bound the posters together with metal rings to make a mini-book. I do not have much wall space and having a bunch of loose pages in my hand gets confusing so turning posters into books works best for me.

After reviewing each page with him and having an open discussion about each of the various qualities of a having a ninja mindset, I gave him a copy of the student mini-book. It contains identical information to the posters but is in a kid friendly format allowing him to keep it close by to reference and read as desired.

The next time we met, we dove deeper into the concept of the ninja mindset by looking at the 10 Traits of a Mindset Ninja posters (which I also created into a mini book by printing, laminating and binding together). We solidified his understanding of what makes for a good mindset ninja (traits such as mindfulness, loyalty to self, bravery, etc.) and how having a positive mindset can benefit him in the future.

I also give them a copy of the 10 Traits of a Mindset Ninja student mini book for them to refer to as needed.
The next time we met, I knew he truly understood what qualities help a person to have a positive mindset, so we dove into the more interactive stuff.  I explained to him that Mindset Ninjas have a growth mindset, they tell themselves things that help them to grow. They do not allow themselves to have a fixed mindset. Fixed mindsets get them stuck and do not let them grow to achieve the greatness they desire.

Once it was clear he understood the concept of fixed vs. growth, we played with the 24 Mindset Matters cards.
I placed them question side down in a pile on the table and we took turns picking and deciding. Once you pick a card, it is your job to decide if the statement is a growth or a fixed statement. For example, the statement on the card may say, “I’m not good at this” and he would decide if this statement is a growth or a fixed statement.

A few other statements are:
“I give up I’ll never get it.”
“What am I missing?”
‘This is too hard.”
“I just have to practice.”

It may be difficult for students at first; the point is for them to understand how some statements they may tell themselves are very helpful and how some may be very hurtful. 

Once he was ready, to extend the learning I used the 12 Change It Cards to challenge him to think about how these commonly said fixed statements could be turned into growth statements instead.
During one of our later meetings together, I used the 24 Sort and Match Cards which allowed him to match fixed statements with better growth statements. 
I started with 5 at a time (10 cards total) as to not overwhelm him. The ninja clipart is the same on matching cards making it easy to check his answers and help him if he was stuck.
These resources helped him tremendously. He thought about what he told himself and tried to achieve a ninja mindset daily. Once it was put into the frame of what a ninja would do, he easily understood the concept of growth vs. fixed. Furthermore, he learned how powerful his internal thoughts are and how much of an impact he can have on his own success.

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