Do You Have a Brick Brain or a Bubble Gum Brain?

Throughout a school year, teachers often see a need in their classrooms to plan lessons to improve the growth mindset of their students.

This has many effects on school life. One effect is a negative or ‘I can’t do it’ attitude that students develop. Students need to be taught the skills and given strategies to both recognise when they are feeling like this, and also what to do to get themselves out of it.

One such lesson involves the idea of a ‘brick brain’ vs a ‘bubble gum brain’.

With a brick brain (or a fixed mindset), you will think that you cannot do it, it is too hard - that the task is impossible. The language you will be using is negative and not solution focused. 

With a bubble gum brain (or growth mindset), you will believe that you can do it with practise. You know that it may take more than one go and  will get better each time. You are willing to give things a go. It is more positive.

Recently in Room 12 we put this into action.

Students were asked to create the following paper creation.

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Students were given a piece of paper and scissors.  They could not touch the example to try to figure out how it was created.

At first the students were keen, then their mood and attitude towards the task changed.

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They became disheartened, and the language heard around the room was largely negative, as students were using their brick brain.

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At this stage of the lesson, we stopped to watch a video of the book Bubble Gum Brain - growth mindset - ready set go, written by Julia Cook.

We discussed how we could change our fixed mindset - or brick brain - to have a more positive, solution focused bubblegum brain.

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Room 12 then had another go at creating the paper model.

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Students worked together, learnt from their errors and after a few tries were successful. Using a growth mindset had worked!

To build on this success, Room 12 students identified their strengths and created a strengths chain to display in the classroom.

Students coloured in statements that they see as a personal strength, and then stapled them together to create a chain. 

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The students shared their chains with each other, and although some chains were longer than others, the students were proud to explain to each other what they were good at. In some cases, their classmates were also able to suggest other things that they were good at that they could add to their chains.

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Using their bubblegum brains, Room 12 can give anything a go and will achieve success, building on their strengths.

We can’t wait to see what they can achieve using their bubble gums brains.

Keywords: Growth Mindset, Bubblegum Brain, Strengths

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