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Growth Mindset in the Art Room

Every year, each teacher in our school district does a passion project. This year I wanted to focus on developing a standards based grading system for my 4th and 5th graders. After diving into this project, I realized there was not a lot out there for art teachers and standards based grading. I did find a lot of resources for classroom teachers and music teachers, but really nothing for art teachers. The biggest struggle for me was deciding if I wanted to focus on different standards each year or stick with some of the anchor standards and build on those each year. I went with different standards each year; but, after reflecting on this past year, I do think I will go back and focus on six of the same anchor standards for each grade. I am hoping this will allow the students to better understand those standards and allow for more growth within those big picture ideas. After diving into standards based grading I got to talking with one of our amazing Physical Education teachers, Tony Cook. He was talking about a book study on Growth Mindset and how he was really excited to focus on those students that already have that fixed mindset of "I’m not athletic.” So of course, I had to get in on it. After reading the first few chapters, I realized how easy it would be to implement some of these ideas into the standards based grading method.Each 5th grade had to create their own goal based on one of the six standards we were focusing on that school year. Many of the students goals focused on improving their vocabulary or craftsmanship. Throughout the year, students reflected on how they were moving towards their goal and if they felt they were going to be able to achieve their goal. With every project students completed, they also completed a rubric and had to answer a question and share about how they’re working towards their goal. I have shared this rubric with you bellow and would love to hear some feedback because rubric writing is one of my biggest struggles. (Click here for 5th Grade Rubric)

Another big takeaway from reading the book was how we need our students to buy into a growth mindset. One way I did this was by having students think about what our environment needed to be like in order for them to grow and develop as artist. We talked about the voice level and the majority of students said they needed a quite voice level in the classroom to work as an artist. With this I then incorporated a sound level system that @artwithmrs.e uses in her classroom. Cassie Stephens also started to incorporate a similar system in her classroom and shared it on her website that can be found here. I am hoping to do more of this next year but focusing more on how we should treat and address one another.

My spin on the system was this Chatter Pallet. The paint brush spins to different colors that represent different sound levels in the classroom. Each table has a cubby that has five clothes pins. Every time I catch a table at the right voice level they get to add a clothes pin to the green tape that is on the edge of their cubby. When they are done for the day they record how many clothes pins they have. When each table earns a certain amount of clothes pins, they get free iPad time. This has been an amazing system and I am thinking of using to help with clean up next year.

The last thing that I really worked to

incorporate growth mindset in my classroom was eliminating any negative self-talk. The one thing I started to incorporate was the ‘erasers’. Anytime students found themselves thinking negatively about their work they would rub the tips of their fingers together. This motion represents erasers and the erasers are elimating any negative self-talk. I also had students use this same idea if they hear any of their peers talking negatively about their work. In addition, anytime we heard a student say ”I can’t do this” students would chant back “yes you can”. On top of the eraser trick I also have my students say the art room mantra at the beginning of each class period.

I am talented

and capable of making amazing art

all I need is the right attitude

in my mind

and in my heart

I use this to help switch my students mind over to art making mode.

Since incorporating these few concepts adapted from the Growth Mindset Playbook I have noticed students much more engaged in their work as well as putting more effort towards meeting their goal. I hope to incorporate more of these ideas in the coming year.

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