Ready-to-Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom: Author Q&A
Ready-to-Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom: Author Q&A
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, October 14, 2020 by Andilynn Feddeler

When students believe that dedication and hard work can change their performance in school, they grow to become resilient, successful students. Ready-to-Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom: Everything Educators Need for Building Growth Mindset Learning Communities provides educators with tools they need to help students change their thinking about their abilities and potential. Learn more about the updated edition of the book and developing growth mindsets in this interview with the author, Mary Cay Ricci.

Q: What is new to the updated edition? Why were these updates included?

A: Throughout the entire book, there are updates based on my observations of growth mindset initiatives in schools as well as newer research on the topic. More specifically, I updated several of the resources, including the list of people who have demonstrated resilience and overcome challenges in their lives, and the chart of picture books and extended texts that can be used to discuss mindsets. The first book included 50 picture books, and that list has expanded to 100! Extended texts went from 25 to 50 books.

The changes for the 2020 edition were needed to better understand and implement growth mindset principles in teaching and learning.

Q: Why is Ready-to-Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom even more relevant to readers today (distance learning, being open-minded about the future, dealing with stress, etc.)?

A: I can’t think of a time in education when a growth mindset is needed more than now! Whether you are doing distance learning, face-to-face, or a hybrid, changes have been made. We all know how difficult change can be for both adults and children. The update of the book continues to focus on important tenets of developing growth mindsets in our students. Skills like resiliency, perseverance, optimism, and work ethic are essential to develop.

An important aspect of growth mindset thinking is when students know what to do when they struggle. This is especially important during distance learning situations. Do they know what to do when they get stuck? What strategies have we taught them to try before they ask for help? Having a menu to go to when they face challenges ultimately helps with stress and other social-emotional issues that they may encounter.

Q: How does this book help educators implement the ideas in Mindsets in the Classroom

A: The chapters in this book actually mirror the chapters in Mindsets in the Classroom. For example, if you want more information about how to implement the ideas in Chapter 7: Can Gifted Education and a Growth Mindset Belief Coexist?, Ready-to-Use Resources provides some tools to better meet the needs of underchallenged students (whether they are formally identified as gifted or not) as well as ideas for professional learning. The resources help implement the content and ideas included in Mindsets in the Classroom.

Book study models for Mindsets in the Classroom that have actually been implemented by various schools across the country are also included in Ready-to-Use Resources.

Q: What are some of your favorite tools in this book, and why?

A: I don’t have to think long about this . . . without question, Resource 48: Growth Mindset Picture Books and Resource 49: Growth Mindset Extended Texts are my favorites.

One of the most effective ways to keep the growth mindset discussion going all year long is through literature. As mentioned above, I have added to the chart of picture books as well as extended children’s books that provide opportunities for discussions about mindsets. These charts not only include the title of the book, but also the author, recommended grade level (although I am a fan of using picture books at every level), and whether the character or story demonstrates a fixed mindset, growth mindset, or a change in their mindset. I also include questions that help students think about the mindset of the characters, or in some cases, real people. Many question possibilities exist for each book, but I do include just a few examples of questions in order to begin a discussion about mindsets. 

I am also always very purposeful in choosing diverse children’s literature. The recommended books include characters and people from a variety of backgrounds, races, cultures, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

The only downside to this resource is that I can’t help but bring so many of these books to share when I do workshops . . . makes for a lot of heavy luggage! 

When I discover new books that have the potential to spur discussion about mindsets, I will tweet about them at @MaryCayR.

I also love all of the tools that help visualize and implement differentiation and critical thinking processes!

Mary Cay Ricci is an education consultant and speaker. She was previously the Supervisor of Advanced and Enriched Instruction for Prince Georges County Public Schools, Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Education for Baltimore County Public Schools, and an instructional specialist in the Division of Enriched and Accelerated Instruction for Montgomery County Public Schools, MD.