Growth Mindset Resources 

To guide our school in developing a quality program, while staying true to our core values, we have instilled a yearly theme. We decided to use our name, Sage Oak, as an acronym to guide each year’s theme. Our first year, we focused on service represented by the letter “S.” Last year, our theme was achieving represented by the letter “A”. This year our theme is growth represented by the letter “G”!  Growth can mean taking risks, collaborating, learning, improving, being responsive to feedback, and valuing and praising hard work, among many others. We are very excited about highlighting our school’s continued growth as well as the growth of our students throughout the year.  Learn more about what growth mindset is by viewing these resources.

What is Growth Mindset?

Growth Mindset Video with Class Dojo

Carol Dweck: TED Talk

How Parents Can Instill a Growth Mindset at Home

14 Children's Book That Promotes a Growth Mindset

10 Ways to Teach Kids about Growth Mindset

Make THE Difference


Growth Mindset Keys of Affirmation

The words we use when we’re teaching have an impact on how children see themselves as learners.  Carol Dweck, author of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, found that showering students with praise that focuses on how smart they are can actually limit their abilities.  Professor Dweck discovered that complementing intelligence actually can restrict a person’s perception of their abilities making them afraid to take risks for fear of failure.  Framing the comments we make to focus on the effort the student is making will help the student understand that achievement is the result of hard work and in turn, build a growth mindset in our students.  

We want to provide Growth Mindset Keys of Affirmation as suggested tools in helping develop student resiliency to feedback and promote an intentional focus on encouraging the mindset that intelligence can be developed through practice, hard work, dedication, and motivation.

Instead of saying “You are so smart”,  start saying…..


“You tried really hard on that!” This compliment focuses on the result made by the child’s hard work.  It can be used even when they didn’t meet a goal or struggled.
“I noticed that you didn’t give up when you felt frustrated.” This comment works to help students recognize that not all learning comes easy. Empowering the child to work through their frustrations will develop a resiliency when things get tough.
“I noticed that you tried a variety of strategies to solve the problem.” Carol Dweck encourages a  focus on process praise rather than the outcome.  She suggests that we “focus on the learning process and show how hard work, good strategies, and good use of resources lead to better learning.
“Way to turn your mistake into an opportunity!” MIstakes are a natural part of learning and shifting the way we look at them is a pivotal step toward adopting a growth mindset.  Help your child recognize that mistakes are not dead ends, but an opportunity to reflect.   Looking for ways to improve and learn even in the face of a struggle helps shift the mindset.
“I’m proud of the risks you took today.” The act of taking academic risks builds courage, self-esteem, questioning skills and academic responsibility. We can work to help students avoid “playing it safe” by modeling a willingness to fail, providing opportunities to work through challenges, and encouraging conversations and questioning.
“Yet” more often

The Prodigy Game blog article ”10 Ways a Teacher Can Instill A Growth Mindset In Students,” quoted Carol Dweck by claiming the word “yet” can change disparaging sentences into positive ones, promoting growthThis linguistic trick works especially well with sentences that include “can’t” or “don’t,” because it reverses the negative connotation.

See for yourself by adding “yet” to the end of these sentences:

“I can’t do long division…”

“I don’t have the skills to answer this question…”

“I don’t understand dependent and independent clauses…”

When you catch yourself using similar sentences, keep this trick in mind and share it with students.

“Don’t worry if you don’t understand something right away. Focus on the next steps. What should they be?”

Carol Dweck recommends teaching students about the effect on the brain when people push through their comfort zones to grasp difficult concepts. The neurons form stronger connections, leading to improved intelligence over time. Therefore, effort and difficulty are paths, not roadblocks, to becoming smarter.

“Just when you could have given up, you kept on trying.”

In the following article, Dweck confesses that we all may have a fixed mindset at one time or another and she addresses how to recognize this in ourselves and work beyond it.  In countless interviews, Dweck recommends four steps to increase self-belief and motivation to develop a growth mindset:

STEP 1: Learn to hear your fixed mindset inner dialogue voice.

STEP 2: Recognize that you have a choice.  Your response to challenges, setbacks and criticism is your choice.

STEP 3: Talk back to it with a growth mindset voice.  

STEP 4: Choose to act with a growth mindset approach:

Take on a challenge wholeheartedly

Learn from your setbacks and try again

Hear criticism and choose a growth mindset response, your mindset is up to you

To Dweck, the meaning of effort doesn’t rest with simply an attempt, but in an ongoing willingness to fail, to try new strategies, to seek input and to learn from mistakes.

“If you don’t understand these types of questions, try using a different perspective. You may be able to draw or write them out.”

Asking your child to elaborate on their thoughts during discussion may reveal what they do and do not understand.  Encourage them to process content at a deeper level as they reflect on their responses.  Some ways to help your child work through difficult content might be having them draw pictures or write out a list of questions.