At LSC-Tomball, grit and growth mindset are not just education buzz words. It is who we are, and what we want our students to be. We can achieve this goal by making grit a part of the students' semester. In addition to the content you are teaching and the assignments connected to that content, here are some weekly grit assignments that you may wish to include into your classes.
Assignment 2: Have students apply what they have learned about grit and growth mindset to their future careers/classes.
Assignment 3: Have students will tell their grit stories using Adobe Spark Video. Click here to see some examples of grit stories using Adobe Spark Video.
Assignment 4: Have students find real examples of grit or growth mindset and post those in a discussion or share in class. Some examples include finding a news story, sharing a Facebook post, or writing a summary of another person’s grit story.
Assignment 5: Have students write 10 positive affirmation statements that demonstrate a growth mindset. These statements should be in present-tense and reflect how they will overcome any fixed mindsets they may have or experience as a student. Here are a few examples created by students.
Assignment 6: Now that students have written affirmations for themselves, add purpose to this assignment by having them write affirmations for the people in their lives. Based on the needs and circumstances of the people they love, students can craft affirmation statements that help those for whom they care develop their own grit. (This assignment was created by participants in Grit Certification Program!)
Assignment 7: Students can listen to a podcast and discuss the elements of grit and growth mindset that were discussed. Malcolm Gladwell has a great podcast series called Revisionist History. "The Big Man Can't Shoot" is one episode that has a lot of possibility for students to reflect on grit and growth mindset. There is also a great Freakonomics episode where Angela Duckworth talks directly about the characteristics of gritty people. Click here to access this podcast episode.
Assignment 8: TED Talks are short but are engaging and have powerful messages. There are several talks that highlight an individual’s grit/growth mindset story even though that may not be the focus of the story. As the instructor, you can search for topics and try to find videos that demonstrate grit/growth mindset. Students can then watch this TED talk and reflect on the grit/growth mindset that was present. This can be done during a class discussion, or you can use TEDed as a way to get students to think about the grit/growth mindset elements revealed in the talk. With TEDed, you can assign the talk for homework and ask students specific questions about grit/growth mindset. Here is a sample TEDed lesson that I just created.
Assignment 9: Now that students are familiar with TED Talks, you can have your students find a TED Talk that has a grit/growth mindset story and share this story in a discussion forum. To introduce this video, students can summarize the grit/growth mindset story within the talk in 1-2 sentences. Make sure students use the terminology they have learned in this 1-2 sentence summary!
Assignment 10: Many educators search Google images as a way to include a visual element to lecture notes. But this assignment, one I learned years ago while in an Advanced Placement seminar, promotes critical thinking (which is a component of any gritty assignment) and tenacity. To get started, all you need is a blank PowerPoint presentation and Google. Think of an abstract word like courage, love, or loyalty. Search this word in google, and then click on Images. Find 5-7 images that you like related to that term, and copy each image on a separate slide in the PowerPoint presentation. Once your presentation is ready, you can share it with the class. Here is how the activity should go:
Tell students that you searched a term in Google and your search resulted in the images they are about to see. They will look at all images and try to guess the word that you searched.
Show each image for 5-7 seconds so that students can examine the image. Then, move on to the next image. Repeat until all images have been shown. Students should make a list of the words that they think you searched.
On the final slide, you can have all of the images.
One by one, students will share ONE word. If the student is incorrect, quickly point to the next student in the room. Repeat this until someone says the word. This may require that you go around the room more than once.
You can also use this assignment as a way to assess students’ understanding of grit/growth mindset. Instead of searching for any abstract word, search one of the terms associated with grit/growth mindset. Some words to consider are: mindset, interest, practice, purpose, hope, growth, resilience, instinct, and tenacity!
For online classes, create a presentation and have students “guess” using Google Forms. When students are done, you can have them view the correct responses. Click here to view a sample.
Assignment11: Take any of the assignments that you have done so far, and make it specific to a more adult audience. How can you translate any of this information for other college students or to your future colleagues. You can create a video, a video lesson, a poster, or a presentation that teaches or reinforces the ideas of grit or growth mindset to an adult audience.
Assignments 12-15 are based on Angela Duckworth’s 4 characteristics of gritty people: interest, practice, purpose, and hope.
Assignment 12:Interest – For this assignment, I have students connect their learning to something that interests them. This can be for any class they are taking, and they can connect their learning to their future careers, their current jobs, a current role they are in, or to a class that interests them. If students are having trouble in one class, but are thriving in another, I will ask them to connect what they are doing in the class that interests them and ask how they can apply that to the class for which they are struggling. Students can write this assignment, create a short video, or share it in a class discussion.
Assignment 13: Practice – For this assignment, students will reflect on how they are studying for their current classes. This comes right in time for students to begin prepping for the final exam. Students can use this sheet: Studying for your College Classes as a guide to intentional practice.
Assignment 14: Purpose – Students can connect what they are learning to others. Students will create a review/summary a post for an audience. They can create a video, write a tweet, post an image with a caption that summarizes what they are learning in class.
For the lesson on Hope, students can complete the assignment on writing positive affirmations (assignment 5).
Assignment 15: Hope - When life takes a turn for the worse, it is hard for us to focus on anything BUT the negative that is going on. What happens, though, when we are intentional about focusing on the things for which we are grateful? While doing so may not erase the negativity that is going on, focusing on gratitude seems to put things into perspective for us, and possibly give us a little hope. For this assignment, the Gratitude assignment, students will write a list (of at least 3 things, but I would encourage more) for which they are grateful. (This assignment was created by a participant in the Grit Certification Program!
Assignment 16: Ever heard of the six word memoir? What is now a phenomenon began when Ernest Hemingway was asked to tell the story of his life in six words. His six word memoir: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Smith Magazine invites people to share their own six word memoirs, and now there are books filled with people's stories. Here is a video that highlights a few of those stories. For this assignment, that will be given at the end of the semester, students can reflect on their semester as a student and write a 6 word grit/growth mindset story that summarizes their semester.
Assignment 17 (an extension/alternative of Assignment 16): Instead of having students write their own grit/growth mindset 6 word memoir, pair them with another student in class earlier in the semester. Have each person in the pair write the six word memoir of the other person. (This assignment was created by a participant in the Grit Certification Program!)
Assignment 18: Using a program like Adobe Spark Post, students can create their own growth mindset posters that can be shared with the class or the entire school. This idea comes from the QEP slides designed by High Point University. To view some of the QEP slides, click here.
Assignment 19: On the first day of my Introduction to Teaching class, I have my students write a letter to themselves on their first day of teaching. Here is the video that explains the assignment.
What does this have to do with grit/growth mindset? Well, this assignment can be revised to help give students hope or to help them demonstrate tenacity. Early in the semester, students can write a letter to themselves for either the end of the semester or when the semester gets tough. As the instructor, you should hang on to this letter until students really need it.
Share your Grit/Growth Mindset Lesson or Activity
We would like to know how you are infusing grit/growth mindset into your classes. Share how you have adapted one of the lessons above, or share your own lesson/activity. Email a description of your lesson/activity to Tomballgrit@lonestar.edu.
GritCast is a YouTube Channel playlist created by the Global Grit Initiative at Lone Star College-Tomball. On this channel, you will learn about the grit framework we have infused into our courses and departments at LSC-Tomball. Each instructional video will give you ideas on how you, too can infuse grit in your classrooms and on your campus.