by Lindsey Risner, 3rd grade teacher, Washington Discovery AcademyAt Washington Discovery Academy we embrace that we are always on a path of continuous improvement. At the forefront of everything we do is a vision of what is best for students. Something we value as a school community amongst staff and students is being mindful. While on our journey we hope to help our students develop a sense of mindfulness. We introduce mindfulness by using vocabulary that promotes a growth mindset in our classrooms from the beginning of the year while working on building culture. This vocabulary then develops into a way of thinking and speaking when faced with a difficult task, encouraging another classmate or working through a problem. We use words like, “This is hard and that’s OK”, “I failed but now I know what I did wrong and can try again”, “I have a strategy to tackle this problem”, “If I keep trying I know I will succeed” and “I’m not understanding now, but I know I can ask for help”. We also ask students to reflect on the work they have done and really think about the steps they took to get to there. Even if they didn’t get where they had hoped, we help them develop a sense of pride for all the steps they took along the way. Giving students time to process the work they do allows them to develop a sense of accomplishment for all the hard work they put into their tasks. This sense of accomplishment often results in students taking ownership over their learning. Right now at WDA, we have bulletin board that represents all the positive things one can do when thinking with a growth mindset. Having reminders like these around our building makes for good talking points amongst students and staff. They help to build the positive school culture that we see developing every day. Washington Discovery Academy is a New Tech Network Demonstration site. Learn more about WDA.
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