Mindset & Motivation

In this Circle we discuss the Power of Mindset with a special emphasis on giving feedback. Are you fixed or growth? Do you give feedback to students that is fixed or growth?

Not sure what we are talking about when we say Fixed or Growth Mindset, well… If you would like more information, you should start with Carol Dweck’s Book or her website. 

A faster way to get the gist of the Power of Mindset would be to watch Eduardo Briceno’s TED Talk 


For a quick visual way to understand the differences, check out this infographic on Mindset. Click on it to open it in another window if you would like to see a bigger version of it.

As always, here is a copy of our Prezi from the Circle. You can also find it at this link. 


Our spark (discussion starter) for this circle is “What Baby George and Handstands Have Taught Me About Learning” by Michael Wesch

In the session we also discuss how, in addition to being timely with feedback, you should also consider some other key aspects:

Focus on the Work: Feedback should be on the work, the process that led to the work, or the plan to improve the work: do not focus on the person who turned in the work.

Focus on Function:  Feedback should be function to guide or encourage students to success, not judge.

Consider your Comparisons: Comparisons should be made to established criteria for the assignment not to other students in the class or other norm references.

Note: Special thanks to our FDID’s (Faculty Development Instructional Designers) for sharing some great ideas and good reads with the Circles Team as we were developing this Circle.

Good Reads

Descriptive Feedback and Some Strategies

Types of Feedback and Their Purposes

Growth Mindset Feedback

The Writing Assignment That Changes Lives

The Beloit College List of Things You Should Know About Your Students’ Mindset

Feedback Bricks

Looking for some new ideas for how to give feedback, check out these ideas from Pat Sachse-Brown and Joanne Aldridge. You can read more from them in the “Descriptive Feedback and Some Strategies Reading above.

Met, Not Yet Met, I Noticed: focus is on aspects of quality or progress within the student’s work against criteria that has been set. The teacher places a checkmark in either the Met, or Not Yet Met column based on the student’s performance against the criteria, then adds a brief comment in the I Noticed column that focuses on quality or progress of the work from the last task. An M or NY can be recorded by the teacher to track student work.

More of, Less of: focus is on helping students to see where to concentrate their efforts and on what specific aspects. It is an excellent way to give feedback at a mid-point. Feedback is given in relation to the criteria with 2 – 3 suggestions for what the student needs to do more of or less of to be successful on the task.

Key questions: focus is on giving students suggestions that build off their strengths and provides specific information (1 or 2) to meet their targeted goals. Feedback is given against the criteria using the following questions as a prompt: What’s working?, What’s not?, What’s next? By providing feedback on what is working, students can build on their strengths, while considering next steps and what is not yet working

Highlighters: Select two highlighters: one colour [sic] to highlight “what is working” (green) and one colour [sic] to highlight “what needs improving” (pink) and highlight each student’s work in relation to the criteria. Students figure out why the identified parts have been highlighted in green (what is working with them) so they will know what to keep doing next time. Students figure out why the identified parts have been highlighted in pink (what needs improving) and work to make the improvements.  The teacher can work with small groups on a mini-lesson according to information collected from highlighting (i.e. work with those students who had a lot of parts highlighted in pink).

Post-It-Notes:  Write specific feedback on a post-it note about the student’s successes or a suggestion for improvement, related to the selected criteria. Students work to improve the work based on the feedback. The next time students do a similar piece, they can move the post-it note and include a “Please notice…” statement.  Teachers can collect the post-it notes and record growth. This is an excellent strategy for students to give each other feedback.

Feedback Clicks

One of our digital clicks is the a great strategy for learning student names. Simply print your student rosters with images, click here or on the image below to learn more.

And, of course, knowing students names, linked to a variety of teaching strategies, Like Cold Calling and No Opt Out, found in  Doug Lamov’s work, click here to learn more

Our other Digital Click had to do with autotext. For example, did you know that you could use shortcuts on your iOS device to make your texts and emails more efficient. If you would like to add auto text to your iOS device, simply go to Settings, General, Keyboards, Shortcuts. Below is an example of how I can send a complete message by simply tying xx.

Autotext can also help you be more productive with giving feedback to students. If you are a PC user, Consider how much more efficient Phrase Express can make you at giving feedback.

If you are a Mac user, you should check out Text Expander


If you are interested in a handout you can use to test the mindset of your students. Click on the image below


Here are some other apps you can use to cold call students once you learn their names.   First is the Random Name generator by http://primaryschoolict.com next is Stick Pick

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And just for fun…here is a website we shared the very first time we did Mindset and Motivation. It is an interactive fun way to learn more about the brain. Click on the image below if you would like to learn more about the brain.