Developing a growth mindset in my students is something that I strive to achieve each year. I actively teach them about being resilient and accepting failure as a positive over a negative. I encourage my students to make mistakes and challenge them to step out of their comfort zones because if we are always right and always do what makes us feel comfortable how are we going to learn?
The Lego Learning Pit I have displayed in my classroom helps give students a visual reminder of this and allows them to track their learning progress when things are challenging. It allows them to rethink their learning process and consider different ways or tools they can use to find an answer to their problem or to develop their understanding of a task.
Being in the Learning Pit is not a negative thing and it is something we celebrate. EVERYONE must go into the put at some time. Sometimes its a quick visit to the bottom of the pit before we can climb out the other side, other times it can be weeks. Everyone will go in and out of the pit at different times. What makes your time in the pit useful however is trying out various tools to overcome your challenges. We have the 5 B's that give students tools to assist them.
When I first heard of the learning pit by James Nottingham I was instantly excited to use it in my classroom. I searched the internet for the perfect one to suit my teaching classroom and my style. After not being able to find it I created my own- by hand, cutting each Lego brick out individually. After seeing the reaction from people on our Instagram page I decided to create a a digital version to share with others.
Well did they go crazy! We have sold over 200 copies of both our Lego and Cactus versions and are so excited to help students all over develop positive growth mindsets.
The Learning Pit has been one of the most successful tools for changing students mindset that I have encountered and used. My students are much more resilient, much more confident in making mistakes and willing to take on challenges more freely.
Check out our Learning Pits here
For more information regarding Learning Pits and the research behind them head to
I love having a flexible learning space! My students are able to choose their own learning space whether it be on the floor or at a table and they move the furniture to suit their different learning styles and wants.
Ultimately it is my students learning space and they have (majority of the) control of their learning environment.
Below are some images of the different seating/table options I have for my students.
In my room I am big on making sure we all have a positive learning experience. This includes being able to respect others and to be kind to each other.
Once a day the students are given a piece of paper with another students name on it (it only takes 5 minutes) . They anonymously write something positive about that person. They then put it in the 'Fish Tank of Kindness' and at the end of the day (sometimes after 2 days depending on how busy we get) we read them out to the class. The students get to take their special pieces of paper home with them to share with their families.
The students can also write their own at home or during the day if they have spare time and can add them to the Fish tank.
Its amazing to see students faces light up just by hearing one positive thing written by another student. I always ensure that each students has an even amount. I do this by writing the students names on the paper as I hand them out so the people at school they day all get one.
We did have a discussion on how to write positive things and how any mean comments would not be accepted or read aloud. For those students who have challenges writing I write scribe for them.
My students last year loved the 'Fish Tank of Kindness' and wrote the most beautiful things to each other including:
"Bob has an amazing imagination"
"Bob makes everyone smile"
"Bob helps me when I'm stuck"
"Bob asked me to play in the playground and it made me happy"
" Bob has a kind soul".(Bob is not a student name, just protecting the identity of my students)
Those were real comments from my 1/2 students to each other!!! The power of positivity and kindness is real in these sharing sessions and you can just feel the buzz and happiness in the classroom!
Give it a try and see what wonders it will do to your room too!
MY students are obsessed with Minecraft!
They want to play it on their iPads during any free time they get and are constantly playing it at home.
I thought i would use this love to my advantage and i created our class behavior chart based on minecraft.
I think it turned out great and the students are so excited! they helped me create the top level of a pocket full of emeralds (even though i thought diamonds were more useful and better to have in the game).
The students each have their own Minecraft pig with their names on it, because i love pigs (although you could change this to any other Minecraft character).
Each night i move the pigs back to the top and we start the next day fresh.
So far it has worked wonderfully and some of my challenging students (whose lives revolve around Minecraft) are so proud because they have kept their pockets full of emeralds for 3 days in a row.
What the levels mean
1.you've got pockets full of diamonds- you are on your best behaviour
2.watch out for zombies - this is your first warning
3.you're being a creeper (watch out you might explode) - This is your second warning, next time there will be a consequence
4.Game over- students will lose part of their reward time or have their name put in our schools behavior book.
Here is a copy of the Minecraft behavior chart. I hope your students love it as much as mine.
I have a rule in my classroom that students are not allowed to pass during sharing time/ group discussions. They can be skipped but they will be returned to once everyone else has had a turn.
I know a lot of teachers have the pass rule to make students feel more comfortable and safe in their classroom and I completely agree and respect that. However these are the main reasons I don’t always give the option to pass (there are certain occasions/ situations where it is allowed)
1. It promotes student involvement
By not allowing my students the option to pass they are encouraged to make themselves more involved in class discussions. My experience doing this has shown me, that students who are reluctant to involve themselves in classroom discussion at the beginning of the year are willingly involving themselves by the end!
2. It challenges students to step out of their comfort zone
Part of being a child (and an adult) is trying new things and stepping out of our comfort zone. I encourage my students to step out of their comfort zones and express their ideas, opinions and selves in a safe and comfortable environment. I find by mid-year my students are more willing to take on challenges and extend themselves, through taking more risks in their learning.
3. Everyone is equal
Every one shares, every one listens. It’s that simple we are all the same and all have the right to voice our opinions and ideas. My students are more willing to share when they know that everyone else will is sharing their ideas too.
4. It builds trust and respect within the classroom
At the start of the year we have a discussion about everyone being unique. We talk a lot about respecting each other and listening to others ideas and opinions. I find my students build trust in each other quickly when they feel they are in a safe and comfortable environment. I try to establish this environment in my classroom as quickly as possible at the start of the year. My students become so supportive of, and encouraging to, each other as the year progresses. Inturn they become more willing to share with their peers and not want to pass.
What do you do in your classroom?
I made this cute crate chair/ tables for my classroom. The crates had been in our PE shed for years and I thought they are exactly what i need! I sprayed them with black paint and my wonderful friend (who is amazing with a sewing machine) created these awesome cushions for me.
They are so useful as they can be used as a seat or if the students take the cushion off and put a clipboard or plastic board on the top they can use it as a table. They absolutely loved testing them out today!
I think they turned out great! what do you think?
I am so excited! we have been back at school for a week and a half now and so far my new learning space set up is working amazingly! The students love the extra space in the classroom and they love being able to choose their own learning space.
We made a rule that we don't have 'tables' we only have learning spaces, that way sitting at a table or on the floor is not a negative or positive its just another learning space.
It has really helped with my behavior management as students are more spread out and are choosing positive learning spaces away from distractions. It's wonderful to look around and see the tables empty and students working in other spaces around the classroom.
one big thing i have noticed is the great interactions between the students and great peer teaching. it is also wonderful to see students who in past years have had difficulty completing task are now finishing everything and they are so excited!
I am so proud and happy with the success of this change as i took a bit of a risk setting my classroom up this way. If all keeps going like this we are going to have a even better year than anticipated!
When people have walked into my classroom this year I have heard similar statements “wow! You have so much space” “how many kids do you have this year? You don’t have many tables!” “where are your tables?”
The truth is I don’t have enough tables or chairs for every student in my classroom! This year I wanted a more agile and collaborative learning environment. I wanted to give the students more control over how and where in the classroom they learnt.
The following are 5 reasons why I think it is going work wonderfully in my grade;
- Behaviour management
A lot of people might think that it will be harder, not having students in designated seats separated from those who they should not be near. I think that it will make it easier! Students will be more spread out around the classroom and working in smaller groups. I do have a challenging class this year so if required I can still designate students their own learning spaces.
- Peer teaching and collaborative learning
Being able to move into different learning spaces around the classroom means students are constantly working with different people. They can share ideas, learning and methods with students of varying ability levels. This will greatly encourage and enhance peer teaching, collaborative learning and student development.
Every classroom teacher cries for more space! This year I wont be one of them! By having extra space it gives my students more room to learn. This means that they have the space to work with others or to work alone if they want. I am hoping this will create a more mellow vibe in the classroom as it gives those students who need space/ timeout the chance to do so and continue working without distracting others.
- Flexiable layout
As there are only 6 tables and 12 chairs the students can easily rearrange the learning space to suit their needs. If the students decide they want extra floors space they can push the tables aside, if they are working in a group and want a larger table they can join them together. It is more flexiable and aims to suit the students learning needs.
I strive to ensure my students are independent learners who challenge themselves to do their best at all times. By having a collaborative learning environment it will encourage my students to take more responsibility for their learning and the learning space they create around them. Students will be responsible for ensuring they choose a positive space to work in near people who positively influence and encourage them to learn.
I am so excited to try out my new learning space and to see how the students work and develop within it. I will ensure I post both the positives and negatives and keep you updated on the whole transitioning process!
We are huge on positive reinforcement in our classrooms and have a few strategies that we use to ensure our students are demonstrating positive behavior and learning. Two things we do that the children love and we have seen positive results form are;