Posted in Growth Mindset, Optimum Health

Implementing Growth Mindset-Affirmations

I’m coming at this from three different angles, so I really hope I don’t confuse the crap out of you. Heck, I hope I don’t confuse the crap out of ME! You see, I’m in a unique place of needing to adopt this for myself, needing to make sure both of my daughters understand it and believe it, and to get it into my class’s heads, too. Twenty-eight people! All at the same time!


So, the easiest way to start this, once you understand that your brain CAN grow and that you CAN make your memory better, which WILL enhance your learning no matter how old you are or how “bad” at something you believe yourself to be, is to BELIEVE something good about yourself. Affirmations have been popular for years! That whole concept of “if you believe it, you can do it,” and “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right*,” mentality has been true since… well, I’m 38 and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t told this, so… yeah. In fact, here’s a little motivational video to drive home my point:

I love Youtube!

How does that affect growth mindset? Well, that part is easy. If you hear something often enough, you’ll believe it’s true. In education, we’ve been trained that if a child hears that they’re good at something, they’ll strive to prove it. If they hear that they’re bad at something, and that being bad at that thing is ok, then they’ll only live up to that expectation. So, saying, “I’m bad at Math,” around your kids subliminally tells them that it’s ok to not try to get any better at Math and that if you struggle at it, then you’re obviously not good at it and that’s ok. I know what you’re thinking. “Maybe they are bad at Math, Tiff.” Yeah, no.


I have a sneaky suspicion I’m going to use that one, a lot.

You see, just because you struggle with it, doesn’t mean you’re bad at it. It means… nothing. It means you need to work on it in order to get better at it. Those people who seem to be “good” at it? I’ll bet you a dollar to a doughnut, they’ve had the groundwork for that skill laid for them prior to being introduced to this. They may not have even realized it was being laid down! Those Kindergarten teachers are TRICKY with those “play” centers, people! Heck, I’M TRICKY, too! Third graders don’t realize I’ve just taught them algebra until they are in pre-algebra and the light bulb goes off! Something as simple as letting a 4 year old hand the money to a cashier to pay for something and get change back can grossly affect how they handle the concept of money, later! It seems silly, sure, but you’ll be surprised how those little minds are processing that! It’s a beautiful thing!

Think about all the stories you hear about doctors who tell patients they’re never going to walk again and you see them dancing at their own wedding two years later? Or the cancer patient who had 6 months to live celebrating 20 years of being cancer free? They believed they could… so they did! Does it work all the time? No. It’s not a miracle cure for everything that ails you. However, it does make the pill easier to swallow, the physical therapy worth the pain, and the research paper worth researching!

Let’s get this entry back on track, now that I’ve (hopefully) proven my point about this muscle between our ears!

Short recap… NO ONE IS BAD AT MATH! 

There, all better.

How am I going to apply that knowledge? That’s where we start getting our fingers in some dirt, my friends! First, we have to find the things that we believe about ourselves that illustrate a FIXED mindset (or actually believe that you can’t do something).

For my class:

I’m going to start this for the month with my class using whole class affirmations. I am going to work with them in small groups to incorporate the affirmation in a weekly format to their days, complete with meetings to discuss how they worked towards their affirmation, whether they actually believed it, and how it made their week easier/harder. I’m going to work with each kid towards finding their own affirmations and working towards making them truths by the end of the year. It’s a tall order, but I think it’s worth it. That’s what my mornings and dismissal times are for, right?

For my children:

I started them with affirmations over the summer and they’ve sort of fallen to the wayside. My youngest one still randomly pulls one and grins when I read it to her, so maybe they’re working for her. My oldest, on the other hand, needs the most encouragement and has the lowest self-esteem. I’m going to make pulling that sucker out of the bowl every Monday morning a part of the routine. I’m going to make incorporating that affirmation into their day a daily discussion that we have both going to school and coming home. That’s what our commute is for, right?

For myself:

This may be the hardest part, so doing it may be an affirmation in itself. I’m going to chose an affirmation every week and work on that thing, just the same as I expect the girls to do. I’ll let them hold me accountable for it, too. I’ll write mine down every Monday, too. I’ll create a page in my bullet journal for each week with that phrase and explanations of how I proved it all week. I’ll even share it with you, whoever is reading this blog.

And since this is posting on Tuesday, I’ll even give you a heads up… my affirmation for this week is:


Until next time!


Posted in 2017, About me, Growth Mindset, Motherhood, Optimum Health, Tired of being Tired, Word of the Month

My Word for the January 2017: Growth

I’ve decided, rather than pick a word for the whole year, I’m going to pick one for each month and work towards achieving that word by the end of it. I’m going to tailor my Level 10 Life towards that word, in the hopes that using that word as a focus will help me move towards achieving it.

My word for this month is 7bd1f3842c7da29a4d2e0ef6fad3dfdc. defines growth as: the act or process, or a manner of growing; development; gradual increase.

So, how does that apply to the Level 10 Life concept? Well, there are 10 areas of the L10L concept and all you have to do is apply that word to each one. Here is an example circular spread I found online (here) to show you the 10 areas:



Well, let’s walk through it:

Area 1- Family and Friends= Growing my relationship with my family and friends has a lot to do with interacting with them. I’m going to do this a few ways this month: dating my family, writing letters to my brother and to a friend I’ve been horrible about keeping up with, and continuing to pray for their well being each night.

Area 2- Personal Growth and Development= the word is right there, people! In my case, I’m going to do this by working my way through Growth Mindset trainings and books to get as close to proficient in it as possible! I will probably have to put off starting my Masters until Summer so I can afford it, which makes me angry, but… nothing I can do about that.

Area 3- Spirituality= I need to learn how to meditate. Research and implementation will begin this week. In some ways, this can be Personal Growth, too, so there’s that!

Area 4-Finances= I suck with money, let’s just get that out, now. I pay my bills, but the rest… yeah. This will be the year that changes. On January 1st, I set up a savings account and I will put money in it every time I get paid. My goal is to have $1,000 sitting in that account for emergencies by the end of the year. I’m growing the habit of being conscious of money. I also need to get back on the coupon bandwagon. That’s another goal on my 100 things list!

Area 5- Career/Business= I’m applying that Growth Mindset to my daily life, even in my classroom. My class will be learning it with me, and I will try to take each day with the opportunity to grow in mind in my classroom. There’s so much to learn from each class. I need to remember that, too.

Area 6-Significant Other= I’m going to date my husband and spend time with him, just us!

Area 7-Fun & Recreation= I’m doing some work this winter learning about plants and seeds. You may not consider it fun, but I totally do. I’m dating my family, which is, by definition, fun. I’m also working on my 100 things list, which has a ton of fun things on it. My growth in this area is mostly in trying things and getting my backside off the couch!

Area 8- Contribution/Giving= A donation to the United Way is taken out of my paycheck every two weeks. That’s rather passive. I want to grow in this area, too. I’d like to attack the people at school, honestly. Start a “Random Acts” kind of thing where I just do something nice for a random person. I like seeing people’s faces when they are on the receiving end of it. I handed the guy I buy my newspapers from an extra $20 the other day. He’s a really nice guy who caught me in a math blunder and, instead of being a jerk about it, he was actually very gracious in his correction. I owed him some of that money, but, more importantly, I know he needs the money and I had it to spare. The smile on his face was totally worth it.

Area 9- Health/Fitness= I fell off the wagon with my health plan in the last few months and I need to get back on it. Since it’ll be easier once my schedule is back to normal, I will start this when I get back to work. I also want to hit 10K steps every day and to do that I’ll need to go for a walk every evening. There’s a really nasty weather system moving through this week, so I also need to clean up my treadmill and get it moved into the house so I can actually use it. This is my growth area here this month.

Area 10-Physical Environment= Holy cow! I need to get my physical space back in order. Something I’ve learned about depression, mostly by living it, is that when it hits you, your physical space goes to hell. My motivation for putting things away was nil for three months. At home, at school… I couldn’t keep up with it. I’m in a better place than I was, so now I’m going to tackle it. Christmas started the fix-up in my house, so now it will spread to my classroom, too. I want it all done by the end of the month.



So, there it is! My plan for my Level 10 Life with the focus of Growth this month. I’ll reflect on this when I choose next month’s word. Come play along with me!

What’s your word this month? How are you working towards accomplishing it?

Until next time!



Posted in 2017, Growth Mindset, Teaching

Growth Mindset and me…

I’ve been doing a lot of reading over the last few months about the concept of “Growth Mindset” and I’ve been trying, not only to teach my class how to handle it, but also to convert my current thinking towards it, too.

I’ve found a few resources online, but nothing that really helps me incorporate it into my students’ day. It’s a bit frustrating, I’m not going to lie. Pinterest has a ton of little worksheets and I found some journals and workbooks for teenagers that I’m currently working through, myself. OK, honestly, I’ve set the notebooks/workbooks up, but haven’t really done much with them, yet.  If you’re interested, check them out at the links below. They’re both created by The SuperHero Teacher, who I am quickly becoming a huge fan of:

Today, I stumbled on another resource, this time on Youtube! Her name is Stefanie Faye Frank and she is the ONLY person I’ve seen in my search who talks about how to address this with your CLASS in a way that a) they’ll understand and b)be willing to do. This is the first time I’ve actually thought, “ok, I have a plan, then!” when I’ve looked at these resources. I’m going to embed one of her videos here so you can see what I’m talking about. This is just a basic “What is Growth Mindset?” level video that will take about 6 minutes to watch and it’s worth every darned second! Where’s the TedTalk with my new friend Stefanie, I ask you!?!

Seriously. Awesome, right?

I’m going to have to create this for my class from scratch, heaven help me! You’ll see more on this, later!

Until Next Time!