Home Education: Growth Mindset Day 1

This week we are hosting a two day Growth Mindset workshop

For local home education families

The first day was inspired by two books

The Dot by Peter Reynolds


Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

The day began at 11am

I had written some keywords on large pieces of paper

These keywords would be referred to throughout the day


They were









As the families arrived

I asked the children and grown ups

To write or draw on the papers what each word means to them

These would then be the focus of our first discussion

Our introduction


I explained to the children that we were thinking about what it means to have a GROWTH MINDSET

Children (and adults!) with a growth mindset believe that intelligence and abilities

Can be developed through effort, persistence, trying different strategies and learning from mistakes.

On the other hand, people with a fixed mindset believe that our intelligence and abilities are fixed traits

Something that you are born with and that you can’t really do anything about

To have a Growth mindset we need these words

Our key words


We need to know that

It’s okay for us to make mistakes

If we don’t make mistakes we can’t learn from them

In order to make mistakes we have to have courage to take risks

Even if we are worried we might get it wrong

In order to take risks we have to put in some effort and persistence

And we will eventually be successful


After our introduction

I read the group The Dot

I love this book so much

And I loved reading it aloud


One of the things I miss about teaching

Is sharing new books with children

The Dot is perfect to read with children

At the start of a new school year

Teachers strive to make their classroom a safe and nurturing place

For children to grow and soar to new heights

But they also teach their pupils that they must take risks while learning

The Dot is a perfect text to use

When Vashti took a risk and tried something new

She created amazing art better than she could have ever imagined

She even encouraged another boy to change from a fixed to a growth mindset and create his own art

It is a wonderful inspiring book for children and adults

Schooled and unschooled

Everyone can take something from this book


After reading the story

I sent the children outside

To hunt for 11 comprehension questions that I had hidden around the garden

After this break for fresh air and exercise

We came back together to read and answer the questions


We linked what we had learned from the story

To our key words for the day

Then it was time to do some art work


I asked the children to be brave and to take a risk

To try something new

Draw something new

Use a new art material

I asked the children

To make a mark

As Vashti does in The Dot

Make a mark and see where it takes you


All the children and lots of the grown ups

Tried the different art challenges

Creating pictures from different marks and dots


After the children finished their art work

We came together to read a poem called Yet!

All about the super power of yet


I then gave each child a positive affirmation card

We talked about how it is important to believe in ourselves

And to encourage ourselves

I asked the children to read aloud their card

And to think about the words

I told them they were saying the words for themselves

And also for the friends they had made in the group today

It was really very emotional listening as the children said things like

I believe in me

I can do anything I set my mind to

I am brave enough to try


After the affirmations we had a break for lunch and play


After the break

We worked as a group to sort statements into two piles

Ones that demonstrated a Fixed Mindset

And those that demonstrated a Growth Mindset


Then we read Your Fantastic Elastic Brain


After the story

The children worked in small groups

To come up with lots of words to describe the characteristics or properties of an elastic band


Then they had to come up with lots of different uses for an elastic band


After the small group brainstorms

We came together and shared all our ideas

Then I gave each child

A small bucket filled with elastic bands

I challenged the children

To make something using only elastic bands


I suggested they could try to make a ball

A piece of jewellery

Or a rope

The children then set to work on their creations

Their inventions


This was a great activity and it was wonderful

To see the children’s imaginations come to life

While the adults reminisced about French skipping!


After the activity we came together again

And the children took turns to share what they had made

And to try to describe how they had made it


It was a real privilege to see the range of things

The children had made

From a ball to a necklace

A hammer to a skipping rope


Each child had made something they were proud of

Something to stand up and talk to the group about

They were all brave

They were all creative

They each took a risk

Made an effort

And experienced success


This was another emotional moment for me

After the children’s show and tell

I explained to the children why we had completed

The elastic band challenge

And we talked about what had been happening to our brains

As we worked

Our fantastic elastic brains


After a play

The children labelled a diagram of the brain

brain diagram

And matched keywords about the brain to the right description

brain train

We then settled together for our last story of the day

Oliver Jeffers’ How To Catch A Star

The children were then each given

Five stars to draw and write on


This is Me

My Growth Mindset Vision

A challenge I will embrace this year

When I think I can’t do something I will

I can reach for the stars!

As the children completed their stars

We listened to the songs from

The Greatest Showman

star catchers

It was a lovely way to end our day

Reflecting on our learning

And reminding our children

That with a Growth Mindset

They can reach for the stars

reach for the stars

2 thoughts on “Home Education: Growth Mindset Day 1

  1. This sounds amazing Jennie, so important for children to understand that they won’t immediately be good at everything but they will get there if they keep trying. I think risk taking is discouraged too much these days which is a shame.

  2. Such an inspiring post, Jennie. It’s clear you were in your element and enjoyed being back teaching a larger group than just your own children.
    I’m not sure if it’s something you’d consider but I know there were some groups back in the early days when I was home schooling, where the parents set up their own little schools.
    I can recall there was something quite successful on the Isle of Wight.

    I’m sure you’d be brilliant if you were able to offer a regular schooling day or two a week.
    Of course, you might not want such a commitment, but it’s the joy on your face that made me think of it.

    It looks a really wonderful workshop and so well-planned and managed.
    Well done. xxx

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