The transition into high school is one of the most challenging times for a student. For those emerging from distance learning the stakes are even higher. Invite them back into a supportive and positive classroom environment while introducing them to a new type of thinking!
No matter the school season, your high school students will develop a positive attitude from the burst of confidence that comes with success!
These 20 growth mindset activities will strengthen your students' individual abilities while adjusting their attitudes toward failure.
1. Understand why high school students need a growth mindset
If you're new to the concept of a growth mindset, don't worry - Beta-Bowl targeting both schools and parents will give you the background you need. Growth-mindset researcher Carol S. Dweck pioneered the concept and it has continued to grow in education. A growth mindset in students has the potential to transform their education, and this website provides a high-quality overview. From examples of exit tickets to developing habits of mind through growth mindset phrases, you'll find what you need to get started.
Learn more: Beta-Bowl
2. Start the year off right
The Superhero Teacher has developed a variety of classroom activities that showcase both the determination necessary as well as the fun that can happen at the same time! From coloring pages and growth mindset bulletin board templates to growth mindset posters, this resource has you guiding your students to a growth mindset through engaging activities.
Learn more: The Super Hero Teacher
3. Watch a TED Ed video
This video from TedEd breaks down the main concepts into easy-to-follow diagrams. Not just for parents or educators, but this is a great introductory activity for students as well!
Learn more: PERTS at Stanford University
4. Keep a Growth Mindset in a world with Covid-19
If you're looking for activities for online learning, check out these resources. Students in a distance learning environment need some extra help with developing a positive attitude toward learning and growth, and these resources will help get you on the right track!
Learn more: Edu Circles
5. STEM Growth Mindset Activities
My favorite part of this resource is having students work to research careers that don't yet exist! Take some time with this site and make sure to explore the links in each section.
Learn more: Steam Powered Family
6. Growth Mindset in Math Class
For the math teachers out there, middle and high school students will enjoy youcubed.org. Many students develop negative attitudes towards math, and motivating them to engage with the activities and actually learn from numerical feedback can be a challenge. Youcubed.org provides a variety of engaging math activities that will result in a positive learning experience.
Learn more: You Cubed
7. Introduce Struggle as an Essential Life Skill
One of the major benefits of a growth mindset is that it introduces students to failure and struggle. Students are in the habit of thinking that failure is bad, or that struggle is evidence that they should just give up. This is the issue with a fixed mindset. In this article, Tim Bowman introduces a growth mindset activity to encourage struggle in your students, including solid questions for discussion in response to their likely failure (the activity is really hard, but fun!)
Learn more: Class Creator
8. Social-Emotional Learning Activities
Students worldwide are dealing with the effects of distance learning, isolation, health issues, and more. Focusing on their social-emotional learning is an integral part of helping them develop a growth mindset and life skills while helping them establish who they have become.
Learn more: Edu Circles
9. Using the Four-Wall Discussion
This is a paid resource from Lindsay Ann Learning - Digital English Resources, but a valuable one to have in your growth mindset activity toolbox. It can be used as a classroom activity or as an individual reflection for students afterward.
Learn more: Lindsay Ann Learning
10. Breakout Rooms
Collaborative puzzles are a great way for groups to support each other to maintain a positive mindset. In these activities, groups must solve clues in order to move to the next stage of the activity. Working together, they will meet their goals through discussion with their teammates. Great team-building activity as well as a growth mindset task!
Learn more: Imagineer Steam
11. Goal Setting Activities
This site has many ideas for goal setting and developing writing skills that target a growth mindset. While these are not specific lesson plans, they are a great place to start!
Learn more: Good Sensory Learning
12. Growth Mindset Classroom Posters
Pretty straightforward here, check out these posters with goals for your classroom walls!
Learn more: Edu Circles
13. Growth Mindset and Grit Challenges
This activity includes a self-assessment and activities for both students and school staff. There are also inspirational quotes and poster examples!
Learn more: Santa Ana College
14. Growth Mindset Crafts
Check out the wide variety of activities in this resource. For those who enjoy crafts, there are some paper cutting activities as well as a cootie catcher (high school students still love these, too!)
Learn more: Everything Mom
15. The 21-Day Challenge
The 21-day challenge activity above asks students to set achievable goals while helping others for 21 days straight. The primary rule is that it has to be a different activity each day!
Learn more: Medium.com
16. For 9th Grade Students
If you're looking for a more comprehensive program, this is what you need. Targeting students in the 9th grade, it includes a complete guide for schools who are looking to harness that pivotal year.
Learn more: Cross State School Collaborative
17. Growth Mindset Discussion Questions
Pulled from the writings of growth mindset researcher Carol Dweck, these classroom discussion resources are a great way to start or end an activity, and for a mid-year refresher as well.
Learn more: West Chester University
18. Growth Mindset Statements
Focusing on language is a great way to help students center their learning on growth. By re-framing their words, students can re-frame their thinking. This resource also explores the power of "yet" and how to help students look forward, instead of back!
Learn more: Smore
19. Not only for students... or for Adults!
This site may be targeting adults, but the activities presented can work for older students as well. And any time that middle and high school students can learn through play is a good day!
Learn more: SkillPacks
20. And Finally, Time for Reflection
This activity encourages students to look into their own actions and behavior to see where they are. Reflecting by asking growth mindset questions helps us value where we've come from, and provides an opportunity to chart a clear path forward.
Learn more: Northern Nevada Council for the Social Studies