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Growing a Growth Mindset

Unlocking Character Strengths through Children’s Literature

Kevin Sheehan and Jessica Ryan

Growing a Growth Mindset: Unlocking Character Strengths through Children’s Literature provides teachers with an innovative approach to teaching children the positive psychology constructs that underlie self-belief, goal motivation, and happiness. Through selected children’s books, the book brings to life the latest research and strategies for developing growth mindset, hope, grit, character strengths, and happiness. Each of these positive psychology constructs is explored through a set of three picture book classics that makes the research understandable to even the youngest learner. The National Council for Social Studies inquiry approach drives each book-driven analysis of the selected stories. This inquiry-based approach is organized around a compelling question and provides a complete outline, including formative and summative questions and assessments, as well as extensions that share this vital learning with parents. Lessons in this book have been created by outstanding teachers and have been field tested in classrooms across the region with extraordinary results. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 260Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4758-2472-8 • Hardback • March 2017 • $70.00 • (£47.95)
978-1-4758-2473-5 • Paperback • March 2017 • $35.00 • (£23.95)
978-1-4758-2474-2 • eBook • March 2017 • $33.00 • (£22.95)
Kevin Sheehan is a tenured associate professor at Molloy College, where he has served on the faculty for over a decade. Molloy College recognized Kevin with its Faculty Leadership Award for his work with children of poverty, and the New York State Council for Social Studies awarded Kevin the Distinguished Social Studies Educator Award for his efforts in preparing social studies teachers in 2009.

Jessica Ryan has worked as an elementary teacher in Lynbrook School District and an adjunct professor at Molloy College. In 2012, she was recognized as the Mathematics Teacher of the Year by the Nassau County Mathematics Teachers Association and named the 2013 Teacher of the Year by the 9/11 Tribute Center.
Part I: Introduction: The Why, How and Where of Positive Psychology for Kids

Chapter 1: The Why: Teaching Children To Fail Well in a Trophy Culture
Chapter 2: The How: Lessons of Positive Psychology That You Can Teach Tomorrow
Chapter 3: The Where: Curriculum Connections that Bring Common Core and NCSS C3
Standards to Life
Part II: Children’s Literature Lessons that Teach Growth Mindset and Unlocking Student Strengths

Sections IIA: Growing The Growth Mindset: Learning to Fail Well

Chapter 4: Building a Growth Mindset: The Secret of Failing Well
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein
Lesson Author: Kevin Sheehan
Chapter 5: Foundation for a Fixed Mindset: The Danger of Naturals
Noel the First by Kate McMullen
Lesson Author: Kathleen Sokolowski
Chapter 6: Threats to a Growth Mindset: The Peril of Performance Goals
Too Perfect by Trudy Ludwig
Lesson Authors: Kathleen Blake and Anthony Marino

Sections IIB: Building Hope: The Power of Hope to Create Your Best Future

Chapter 7: Hope Creators: The Power of Others
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beatty and David Roberts
Lesson Author: Jessica Ryan

Chapter 8: Hope Crushers: Rediscovering Lost Hope
Emily’s Art by Peter Catalanotto
Lesson Author: Danielle Rosenberg

Chapter 9: Maintaining Hope: Finding Your Best Self
Stand Tall Mary Lou Melon by Patty Lovell and David Catrow
Lesson Author: Elizabeth Bavaro

Sections IIC: Cultivating Grit: Passion and Perseverance for Long Term

Chapter 10: The Roots of Grit: Deliberate Practice Over Natural Ability
Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan
Lesson Author: Annmarie Pagano and Breanna Podmore

Chapter 11: Sticking with It: Grit Perseverance for Long Term Goals
Iggy Peck. Architect by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
Lesson Author: Monica Zenyuh

Chapter 12: Sustaining Grit: The Power of Passion for a Goal
No You Can’t, Yes I Can by Justin Allen and Antoinette Cauley
Lesson Authors: Dan and Jessica Keegan

Sections IID: Unlocking Strengths: Discovering and Nurturing Natural Talents

Chapter 13: Spotting Strengths: Strength Finding
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
Lesson Author: Amy Curry

Chapter 14: Unleashing Strengths: Using Strengths to Discover the Best You
Dream Big Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi and Tim Bowers
Lesson Author: Megan Pavlick

Chapter 15: Synergy: The Power of Combining Your Strengths With Others
Going Places by Paul A. Reynolds and Peter H. Reynolds
Lesson Author: Angela Abend

Sections IIE: Finding Happiness: Unlocking the Secrets of Happiness

Chapter 16: Discovering the Secret of Happiness: Doing for Others
How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer
Lesson Author: Faith Tripp

Chapter 17: Finding Happiness in Your Life: The Power of Savoring
The Wise Woman and her Secret by Eve Merriam and Linda Graves
Chapter Author: Ed Kemnitzer

Chapter 18: Choosing Happiness: The Power of Optimism
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr
Lesson Authors: Kelly Marzocchi, Caitlin Verity, and Megan Votk
Part III Creating Cultures of Character
Chapter 19: Building Culture: This Book is the Beginning Not the End

Chapter 20: Deeper Knowledge: Resources for Learning More About Mindset, Hope, Grit, Strengths, & Happiness

Appendix A: Lessons From the Field -Jessica Ryan
About the Authors
Educators will find this book a valuable resource in their efforts to promote in students growth mindset, emotional resiliency, hope, and grit—all of which play a crucial role in helping children cope, thrive, and succeed in school and beyond.
Trudy Ludwig, children’s advocate and bestselling author

Thanks to Growing a Growth Mindset, I feel as though I've been given a real gift! I now have an exceptional resource to use for teaching social-emotional skills like growth mindset, happiness, grit, and identifying natural talents. The resources and activities that Sheehan and Ryan suggest will make my students eagerly anticipate these lessons and beg for more!
Paul Solarz, 5th grade teacher and author," Learn Like a Pirate"

I feel privileged and honored that Sheehan and Ryan have chosen to utilize the message of following your passions in life despite what obstacles stand in your way within Growing a Growth Mindset: Unlocking Character Strengths Through Children’s Literature. I am excited that this message has been incorporated into a curriculum that I feel could have a tremendous impact on educators, parents, and students.
Justin Allen, professional basketball player and author, “No You Can’t, Yes I Can”

With the increased focus on common core standards and standardized testing, concepts embedded in positive psychology such as grit, character, and hope have too often been ignored in discourse on education. Witnessing the price paid by students for this, educators are increasingly coming to embrace these powerful factors in student learning. This book fills a significant gap in the literature and offers concrete strategies teachers and parents can take to “spread ripples of hope” in our schools and in our communities.
Danielle Gately, PhD, principal, Jericho Middle School; EdCampLI Co-Founder, PhD, principal, Jericho Middle School; EdCampLI Co-Founder

All those who work with children seek inspiration and creativity from whatever source may be available. Kevin and Jessica’s inspiring stories of grit, perseverance, and courage allow parents and teachers to convey a precious gift to the world’s future leaders, the power of hope.
Brian L. Conboy, superintendent, Seaford School District

The lessons on positive psychology impacted my child by letting her take ownership of her feelings. She heard stories of hope and perseverance from others that made her think and ask questions when she came home. She was able to internalize that if she tried really hard and dedicated herself to something she wasn’t good at, she would eventually succeed. She knew that this success wasn’t going to be instantaneous and that it would be gradual, but when she saw the results of her hard work as a grade on a paper, she was so proud of herself.

I really enjoyed the assignments that involved parental input. It allowed me to share stories about my challenges and experiences that I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to share with her. I think that doing assignments like these brings a deeper closeness to the parent and child; it provides a better understanding of where a parent is coming from when they give words of encouragement or advice based on their past experiences.
Lisa Hoffman, classroom parent & Waverly Park PTA President

The ideas set forth in this powerful book are critical if we are to free children from the mistaken belief that failing is something to be feared. Bravo to the authors for taking on this important issue.
Mark Pett, author/illustrator of "The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes"

The field of social studies is primed for some new thinking. Growth mindsets is a particularly exciting way into this new thinking.
John Lee, PhD, Interim Department Head and Professor, North Carolina State