Not Yet! Shifting Your Students’ Mindsets

Mar 15, 2022
Motivating Students and Shifting Their Mindsets

Motivating Students to Shift from I Can't to Look at Me Now!

Returning to the classroom after 20 years as an administrator, I wondered, did I still have the "magic touch?" I was the team leader of 4 new teachers. We met over lunch earlier that month; we bonded instantly, laughing and sharing stories. I told them my gusty goal of having the highest scores in the district on state testing. I can be a bit competitive- ok, maybe a lot. They were all in. 

At our first official faculty meeting, you know the one where you hear "The State of the Union,"; aka scores from last year, we continued to bond as we sat together at the cafeteria tables. That is when all heads turned to me, with that look- you know the one "What in the world were you thinking?"

I have to admit my heart sank for just a moment when I heard the scores for our incoming students. But only for a moment, I have what some call defiant hope. In the face of insurmountable odds, I believe students can overcome massive obstacles.

There's no way in the world we can EVER reach that goal Michelle. Where will we find the time? We will be working so hard; we won't have any fun with our students or families. What resources will we use, so students have lots of practice? Will we be sleeping at school overnight to pull this off?

But here's the thing.

  •  You don't have to sleep at school and tutor all night long
  •  You don't have to eat and sleep creating lesson plans and worksheets
  •  You can have fun teaching math
  •  You do need to take care of yourself

In fact, helping students develop a "Not-Yet" Mindset can make a more significant impact than spending long hours on those complicated things!

Not only have I had those same thoughts, but I've also spent long hours creating and tutoring! But not this time. I knew better now.   

In this blog post, I am breaking down one of the most fun, engaging AND straightforward strategies to promote a "NOT-YET" mindset.

The best part?

-Your kids will be bragging about their math skills and your awesomeness as a teacher ALL year.

-Oh, and you will have bragging rights just like my team, and I had!

How does this mindset transformation happen using my curriculum?

Moving your students into becoming transformational students will occur over a short period with small pockets of time. You can develop a toolkit of strategies steeped in brain research. These strategies consider the adolescent brain in all its complicated glory.

Your students will become transformational students. Your students will have strategies that will pull them up out of generations of math trauma. Yes, it's a thing! The embarrassment and anxiety will be gone. Instead, you will instill in them unshakable confidence that will serve them inside the math classroom… and beyond.

Before you panic and run away...

I know you have a curriculum to follow. A scope and sequence with benchmark testing. Social-Emotional Wellness curriculum to follow. You spent all last year redoing it repeatedly, and I know you don't want a repeat of that.

You teach the curriculum you have, use the resources you already made, and stay within your deadlines.

Something really magical happens when your students begin to KNOW they CAN DO math. It is like the wind that comes along on a long journey and breathes fresh air into your lungs.

You'll be amazed to see kids chatting about math, sharing their thinking, taking risks to try to solve problems, and telling their friends how they are mathematicians.

Ok... I'm convinced. Now, what do I need to do?

The idea is to get your kids excited about learning math. Just like when you make them clean out their disgusting backpacks, you basically need them to clear out their negative thoughts ( about their math anxiety and disdain).

I use the book, The Day the Crayons Quit. You can grab it here from Amazon or watch it being read on YouTube here. Then, you'll want the kids to identify the color of crayon they feel they are in math and journal how they feel about math.

You might want to have them complete a survey to gather the information you can use later. It can be REALLY fun to ask the kids:

  • to come up with how they use math in everyday situations,
  • ways they get unstuck in figuring things out (in life, other subjects, and math),
  • what occupations involve math
  • how developing persistence in math can help them in life.

You won't believe what they think of! I keep these notes to use later.

Research shows having students write about their feelings for math actually increases their scores!

I didn’t believe it either. I will explain all that in the workshop.

Click here to download these strategies to get you started…

  • Strategy 2 for 10
  • Helping students "Rewrite Their Stories"
  • Plus 4 more 

It can be a bit heartbreaking hearing the stories and feelings, but sometimes kids need a safe place to let go and begin exploring new thoughts and ideas so that they can rewrite their future.

What do I need to create the transformation? 

Now for the mindset transformation part!

To really kick this mindset transformation up a can bring in the theme of MISTAKES HAPPEN!

I have this all done for you in my prerecorded Workshop: Motivating Students to Shift from I Can't to Look at Me Know! Watch the videos, print off the resources, and try some strategies. Each section provides one method to implement in the makeover process.  

Motivating Students to Shift from I Can't to Look at Me Know! includes the following topics:

  •  Creating a Math Identify
  •  Developing an Inquisitive Mindset
  •  The Brain Science behind why this is powerful
  •  Strategy to help build Student Efficacy
  •  Toolkit of strategies
  •  And of course.. a coaching session to help you add your flair to tweak to fit your class

Want to grab the power-packed Motivating Students to Shift from I Can't to Look at Me Know! Workshop. Click here.

It comes with:

  •  Easy to implement strategies
  •  Prompts for student journaling
  •  Free coaching session
  •  Detailed Instructions

For example:

One of the themes is mistakes happen. You could print out CAUTION signs on yellow paper. The sign is included in Motivating Students to Shift from I Can't to Look at Me Know! Workshop. Along with activities for the classroom such as the one mentioned below. 

Snowball Strategy: Tell your students that their brain is actually growing and getting better/stronger when they make a mistake. You can do the snowball activity from the Freebie – Click here. My students loved this activity.  

For a SLIGHTLY more extensive setup:

Grab these items from Amazon for under $50 total:

  •  Mistakes that Work Book
  •  Caution tape
  •  Products that resulted from Mistakes like the Frisbee, Post-its, 409 cleaner

A mindset transformation your kids will love...and it's CHEAP...and it's EASY...and it makes your students more MOTIVATED?! I know, I know. I'm ready to sound the trumpets for you already!

If you're still worried about the time and energy you will need ...I can relate. We were nervous too. There is so much power in creating Student Resiliency. You will be giving them the power to overcome obstacles and open doors by knowing how to do the math. It is powerful! Your ability to share your excitement and love for math will be ever-changing for your students. But it does require us to shift our mindset, to dig deep for the belief we can impact students' mindsets. (Eeeek. I know.)

Here's what one of the teachers who tried Motivating Students to Shift from I Can't to Look at Me Know! Workshop had to say:

"My students' mindsets shifted. They used to drag in on test day. Now they ask me to grade their tests the second they are done. Then for the next week, all I hear is, did we outscore the other schools. My students love their bragging rights – outperforming other classes and schools. I love teaching again, not because my students do so well, but because they are eager to learn math. It is exciting!"

Maybe you have students like we did - Jamal, who strolled into our class and sat down all cool-like and avoiding math AT ALL COSTS! Later we discovered the words sounding in his head were "I hate math!" "I don't want anyone to know I can't do the math." or maybe you have students like Brenna who are bold enough to say it outright, "Math is NOT my BFF!" Have you ever looked at your class of students and thought we need a MINDSET transformation? You could modify this for you and your students as they progress.

Want to jump on a free call to chat about how to get started or talk through a struggling student?

Let's Chat


Your students already know they have gaps. Help them learn how to change their thinking from I can't to NOT-YET to Look at Me Now! Mindset.  

And when your students start making progress, no matter how small? I want you to SNAP A PICTURE of that progress and post it with pride Look on social media with #themathteacherwhisperer. (Or at least print it out and create a wall of fame outside your classroom.) Because you are IMPACTING LIVES & CHANGING THE WORLD! (Without losing your time, money, or sanity!)

You can grab the Free Guide to get started here → Look at Me Now! Mindset Transformation.

Get Access to the Motivating Students to Shift from I Can't to Look at Me Know! Workshop Here.

Be sure to tag me in all of your student success [email protected]  (