Jennifer Servais is a 9-12 Science Instructor and Instructional Coach at Kee High in the Eastern Allamakee School District. Jennifer's school implements the Professionally Driven Personalized PD model. This is her first learning journey that she is sharing outside her district. These are her words.
Check out her blog
Follow her on Twitter
My first learning journey on the Personalized PD model was to implement Growth Mindset Curriculum into my Biology classroom. This year was a perfect year to try the new curriculum as I had all the 9th and 10th graders, so the ideas were being presented to half the high school's student body. After attending the 2016 KPEC Conference, I was struck with the idea that educators have not taught kids how to learn.
I followed up with this idea by researching the work of Carol Dweck and Trevor Regan. The premise being that we, as educators, need to teach kids how to learn in order for them to reach their educational potential.
I spent the summer looking at Growth Mindset curriculum and decided to implement Growth Mindset Fridays for the first trimester of school. The data I used was a self-assessment survey each student took to rate their Growth Mindset skills and knowledge. This was administered on the first day of school and the last day of the trimester. I also created a feedback survey for students to take at the end of the trimester.
The two biggest obstacles I encountered was committing to the Growth Mindset Fridays and overcoming negative attitudes. There were several times I thought about skipping our Friday activities because we were behind in our biology activities but I stayed the course and adjusted the classroom activities to make sure we kept a consistent and organized way to present the Growth Mindset information. The second obstacle involved one of the three classes not buying into the activities. They were openly hostile about the ideas behind Growth Mindset and there were several times I thought about dropping the activities for that class. However, in the end, I decided I couldn't ask them to work on their perseverance if I was going to quit because they were being difficult.
The data collected indicated that 88% of students used Growth Mindset ideas at least once a week (outside of our classroom) and 98% of students improved on their Growth Mindset assessment score. Along with the growth of the students, I feel like the development of a Growth Mindset vocabulary was a huge success. It allows us to refer back to the concepts throughout the year in a way that everyone understands.
Going forward, I will continue to implement Growth Mindset Fridays in my biology classroom. I would like to rearrange the topics and incorporate more activities that require students to have conversations about the topics at home. I would like to introduce the topics and vocabulary to all staff so the ideas are being reinforced throughout the school. I will also add Leadership Fridays to the second trimester as a way to teach some basic leadership skills.