Many teachers, school counselors, and parents are using growth mindset concepts to help children learn more effectively. As students find out how their own brains work, they learn methods to “train their brain” such as choosing a different strategy, extra practice, making a plan, and thinking outside the box.
One growth mindset principle is that struggle is the start of making new pathways in our noggins. As we practice a new skill, the neural connections become stronger until what began as novel and difficult becomes an easier task. It occurred to me recently that rebus puzzles would make a fun challenge for kids because creative, "sideways" thinking is required. In addition, multiple brain pathways are engaged due to combination of visual and verbal clues. Hopefully this makes the solutions, i.e. the growth mindset statements, more memorable.
The steps to solving the rebus puzzles
• Decode the clues, which may consist of pictures, letters, numbers, arrows, and so on.
• Record the growth mindset statement on the How My Brain Grows! response page.
• Use favorite coloring tools to color in the puzzle.
• Invite children to think more deeply about the statement by completing the writing and drawing prompts on their response page.
Let's get started
Each of the 12 Growth Mindset statements has 3 ability levels to choose from from Beginner to Advanced. I suggest using one puzzle at a time so students can absorb the concept. A workable schedule could be to introduce one statement a week for 12 weeks.
• Print a puzzle and a How My Brain Grows! response page for each child.
• Go over the rebus examples on the How to Solve a Rebus Puzzle page. Laminate if desired for students to refer to.
• After children solve the puzzle they color it in and record the growth mindset statement on their response page.
• Students complete the writing and drawing prompt for that week’s growth mindset statement.
Display the finished puzzles and prompts for everyone to enjoy, then switch them out when the next puzzles are completed. Add to student portfolios or journals or have students take them home to decorate their rooms.
Building on what they've learned
As a follow-up activity students will use the Blank Templates and additional 12 statements provided to create their own original rebus puzzles with a growth mindset theme. Along with a template and response page, each child will need scratch paper to sketch out their new puzzle before writing and drawing the final version. After displaying the original student-made puzzles for awhile, consider placing them into plastic page protectors in a binder to make a unique class book. Use one of the printable Display Titles as the cover for the book.
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