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CV Starr Students Persevere While Teaching Peers the Importance of a Growth Mindset

students ask peers what kind of mindset they have

“What kind of mindset do you have?”

This was the essential question fourth graders in Frank LaMorte and Michelle Marzziotti’s classes posed after sharing informative Google Slide presentations on the differences between growth and fixed mindsets to their peers. 

People in a fixed mindset believe qualities like intelligence or talent are fixed traits that can’t be developed. People with a growth mindset believe anyone can develop their abilities through dedication and hard work.

Presentations on mindset have become a fourth grade tradition ever since teachers read Mindset by Carol Dweck.

“We were so motivated by what was in the book that we decided to put together a slideshow for our students so they would know about the different mindsets and how they can affect your performance,” said LaMorte.

From there, students have begun making their own slideshows, working on the presentations during Intervention/Enrichment blocks or recess.

“We edit it together, we go over some things, but basically they design everything themselves,” LaMorte explained. “They’ve been going to different classrooms around the building and presenting to other classes. The kids seem to understand the importance of the growth mindset.”

student teaches peers what a fixed mindset means

The fourth graders were thrilled to share their presentations — and also a tiny bit nervous. 

“I was nervous,” admitted Fallon Richardson. “When I went in to present to a fifth grade class, I was kind of scared because they’re big.”

Kylie Goodliffe agreed with her.

“I really like it, but it was kind of scary going into another classroom,” Goodliffe said. “I get that weird feeling in my stomach. It’s hard because some people don’t know about mindsets and you have to teach them.”

“It was nerve wracking for me, but then you get the hang of it,” added Ava Simonian. “Once you start, it’s really fun. It’s one of those things that make you really nervous but once you get onto the second slide, it’s fine.”

Nerves aside, students really enjoyed sharing their knowledge with other classes — especially when they knew the teacher.

“It was fun because we got to see last year’s teacher,” said Lizzie Corradino. “We also got to see what they learned from the presentation. I felt happy that we were teaching kids about having a growth mindset.”

The mindset project touches on many of the district’s Strategic Coherence Plan skills. For one, students are essentially teaching their peers the importance of perseverance while persevering themselves. One student mentioned how scary it is when you make a mistake while presenting, but that you just keep going. Students are also practicing communication and collaboration as well as adaptability.

students present slide presentation on growth vs fixed mindset