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Bubble Gum Brain: Students learn about the power of positive thinking

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Do you have a bubble gum brain, or do you have a brick brain?

Sixth graders in Paula Colvin’s guided reading group at the Harry Hoag Elementary School considered this question before they set their reading goals for the year. Why? Because attitude is everything.

Students are learning about having a growth mindset. People who have a growth mindset believe their abilities can be developed by working hard and persevering—brains and talent are just the starting point.

Students listened to a read-aloud of the book “Bubble Gum Brain” to help them learn about this way of thinking. If you have a bubble gum brain, you “chew” your thoughts, you can expand the way you think, and you understand that making mistakes helps you learn. If you have a brick brain, you believe things are the way they are, and they won’t change much.

Students practiced the growth mindset by rewriting brick brain statements into bubble gum brain statements. They also wrote lists of things they can do, and things they can’t do yet.

“It’s about changing your thinking from, ‘I can’t do this,’ to, I can’t do this yet,‘” sixth grader Chanel Jefferson-Frye said.

Colvin said it’s already working to change students’ minds about their abilities.

“I had a parent tell me their child was at home working on something and they were saying, ‘This is not impossible. I can do this,'” Colvin said.