Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Book Study: Mindset Chapter 2

Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
My friends, Greg {Kindergarten Smorgasboard} and Abigail {Kindergarten Chaos}, are hosting a book study on Carol S. Dweck's book Mindset, The New Psychology of Success
I am so excited to share my thoughts on chapter 2 of Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, along with Lisa from All Y'all Need!
If you haven't read Greg and Abigail's takeaways from chapter 1, be sure to head over to their blogs and do that, then read mine and Lisa's thought on chapter 2.
First of all, you need to know that this book is not like most professional books you've probably read. In the introduction, Mrs. Dweck gives a disclaimer concerning the grammar..."I know it and I love it, but I haven't always followed it in this book. I start sentences with ands and buts. I end sentences with prepositions...I've done this for informality and immediacy..."  I LOVE this. Because it's exactly how we speak. It feels like Mrs. Dweck is having a conversation with you.  She shares examples that have been taken straight from the headlines.  She talks about people I "know", like Michael Jordan! This book is a quick and easy read, but filled with so much insight about the mind and how it works!

Ok, so let's get to chapter 2.
What is a mindset? Believing that your qualities are set, or fixed, creates in you the need to prove yourself constantly.  A person with this mindset believes that they only have a certain amount of intelligence and they must constantly live up to that amount or they will be viewed as a failure.  The growth mindset is based on the belief that you can stretch your abilities through application and experience. This person faces a challenge head on and doesn't back down. The challenge is viewed as an opportunity to learn and while failure may occur, it does not discourage or intimidate this person.
To further understand the two mindsets and to help you determine which one you possess, maybe this example will help you like it did me.  Mrs. Dweck and her research team asked young adults to describe their ideal mates.  People with the fixed mindset said their ideal mate would worship them, put them on a pedestal, and make them feel perfect.  Those with a growth mindset said their ideal mate would see their faults and help them work on them, challenge them to be a better person, and encourage them to learn new things.  TOTALLY different! 

Another question also interested me.  The research team asked children all the way to young adults when they felt smart.  The people with a fixed mindset said, "When I don't make any mistakes.  When I finish something fast and it's perfect.  When something is easy for me, but others can't do it."  So think back on the children you've taught that would give you an answer like one of these.  Now you know they have a fixed mindset.  They thrive when things are safely within their grasp.  If they are not performing well at a task, they lose interest.  They only like an activity if they perform well right away.
When students with a growth mindset were asked when they felt smart, their answers, as you probably have already guessed, were quite different. They felt smart when "I work on something for a long time and start to figure it out.  When it's really heard, and I try really hard, and I can do something I couldn't do before." For them it's not about immediate perfection, it's about working through a challenge.  

Mindsets also change the meaning of failure.  A person with a fixed mindset transforms it from an action to an identity.  I am a failure.  This mindset obviously causes self-esteem issues.  Failure can still be a painful experience for those with a growth mindset, but it doesn't define that person. It's a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.  

Mindsets also change the meaning of effort.  Mrs. Dweck uses the old story of the tortoise and the hare to illustrate this point.  The moral of the story is supposed to be that slow and steady wins the race, but she asks the question, " did any of us ever really want to be the tortoise?"  No, she says, "we just wanted to be a less foolish hare."  YES! This is spot on!  The story really teaches us that effort is for the slow turtles,  but occasionally the slow turtles can finish first if the talented people drop the ball!  

Through her research, Mrs. Dweck found that the mindset you choose for yourself affects the way you lead your life.  The key word there is choose. Because you choose it, you can change it! 
We can all grow our mindset! Now that we know how to identify mindset, we can work to unlock the fixed mindsets in our selves, or students, and begin to look at the world with a new set of lenses!

I am living proof that you can change your mindset.  Growing up, I was a quiet child who liked to make my parents proud.  I didn't stretch myself or place myself in situations where I might fail.  I married while I was in college and still had this fixed mindset, along with a spouse who did not encourage me to dream big or reach for the stars.  I spent many years envious of my friends who had a growth mindset, until the day I realized I deserved to live as the person I knew I was deep down.  So I made about a million changes and can happily tell you I have a new perspective on live and a new mindset to go with it!  I only surround myself with likeminded people who challenge me to be better than I was yesterday, help me see my faults and encourage me to work on them, and support me in my wild and crazy dreams!

What is your mindset?? Link up your post below!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

STEM in the Classroom: with Animation Studio by HUE

Last year I decided I wanted to start STEM Maker Stations in my library.  I started small and easy with puzzles, educational board games, and maker activities like creating bookmarks and small books.  Then I realized that I was neglecting the T!  Thankfully, the folks at HUE have a heart for librarians and they sent me a HUE HD Pro Camera and Animation Studio, which is a stop motion animation kit.  While HUE provided me with these products to test in my library, all opinions are mine!
The HUE HD Pro Camera is PERFECT for small spaces! I connected it to the laptop that runs my Smartboard, because sometimes the illustrations in books are so tiny that we need to see them on the big screen!  I have a small student desk that holds all of my technology for the board, so the size of this camera is perfect for me. 
Image this desk with a laptop as well. Now do you see
why the camera's design is perfect??
While it is small, it can do so much! Not only does it project your image/object, it can take still pictures, has a built-in microphone, and can record videos! The camera comes with a base, but you can also plug it straight in to your USB port.  How cool is that?! My favorite use for the camera so far, other than just projecting illustrations in books, was when I used it to help me teach the students how to play a new game that I’d recently purchased.  The camera was perfect for showing the gameboard and cards with tiny fonts.

I am super excited about the Animation Studio! The animation kit comes with a camera, software, and an easy-for-kids-to-understand instruction book. 
Animation Studio by HUE
The software is preloaded with sample stop motion videos that are amazing and really show your students what can be achieved.  What I love about the instruction book is that it teaches the reader how each one of those videos were made!
The software is easy to use and very student friendly. I didn’t read any directions, just played around with the software and in just a few minutes I made a movie!!  The movie making process was really quite simple.  First I downloaded the software, using the enclosed DVD. 
After I installed the software, I plugged in the document camera and was ready to begin creating!  Something else I like about this camera is that you can use the provided base or you can plug the camera directly into your laptop, as shown below.
I built a simple Lego scene, took a picture, changed the position of the Lego man, then took another picture. 
After about 5 photos, I decided that was enough and clicked the play button in the animation software. You have the option to speed up or slow down the pictures, and even to add text to each one! There are plenty of options to further customize your movie scenes, like preloaded backgrounds, adding music or recording voice narration.  My students are going to LOVE this!

So without any further ado, here’s my Lego movie, titled Tiiiimmmmberrrrr!
I can’t wait to see the videos my students create!
Just think of all the ways you can use this software in your classroom...your students could make videos about a math task, science experiment, a timeline in social studies, write a story to accompany a video using Legos, and SO MUCH MORE!!
Do you have any HUE products in your classroom? Tell us what you have and how you use them in the comments below!
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