Giraffes Can’t Dance

giraffes can't dance growth mindset

After weeks of test prep I’ve gotten bored.  I actually realized that I was out of great ideas early last week.  My students were doing great, but we’d done so much and still had more time to keep on going.  I couldn’t make a decision.  After a few years of teaching 4th grade I’ve accumulated A LOT of great stuff from other teachers, and I was using all of my favorites, but it was time for a new challenge.  For the students … and for me.  I had a few thoughts in mind.  I wanted to get back to reading good books.  I wanted to continue the growth mindset theme I’d picked back up on.  I needed to continue the momentum we’d gained with so much time doing individual review practice, remediation and test-taking instruction.  And I wanted talking, happy students who were excited to continue learning.  So I came up with this Growth Mindset Test Prep Activity that works with any set of task cards or test questions for any subject and skill, and adds a fun challenge to your review.
It works with the book Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae.  Basically, I read the book (yay) and the students shared their own goals they’ve had to work on and find their own strategies for in reading.  Then, I grouped the students into trios and gave each group a small set of review task cards.  For my needs I used the Fictional Skills Review and the Informational Text Review Skills task cards from Teaching With a Mountain View, however, you could use any set of task cards or questions.  For each correct answer I gave the group a point.  Once they’d earned all of the points for their task cards, they were given a mystery word in the form of a bag of letters.   I used my growth mindset related words, but I’ve included a blank page for the option to use subject-related words.  The group had to figure out their word.  They were so excited to get to this challenge that their skill review work was amazing.  They crushed it!  (Yep, we’re also building confidence for the big day here!)  Last, they earned a fun coding reward that also goes along with the theme.  This activity worked.  It’s not completely conventional, and it’s not at all quiet.  It’s fast-paced, engaging, confidence-building, perfect for one-on-one remediation as needed throughout the activity, peer teaching and learning, and has high impact.  I’ll definitely use this one again!  If you’re interested, you can get it at  Mrs Gentry’s Class on Teachers Pay Teachers here.
thanks for reading!

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