Aug 24

Cloverleaf’s Top 10: Growth Mindset Books for Kids


Growth mindset is an important concept at Cloverleaf, and one we reinforce continuously with our students.  Just as Ms. Elise blogged back in December, students with growth mindsets tend to have more success in school than students with fixed mindsets.  Many of the students we serve at Cloverleaf are working on raising their frustration tolerance threshold, so teaching growth mindset is key.  Working through the discomfort of uncertainty, pushing ourselves to try something new, or trying again after failing are habits that do not come easily– they require practice, support, encouragement, and infinite “re-do’s” to work toward developing a growth mindset!

What does having a growth mindset mean?


“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.”  -Carol Dweck


When students believe that their ability to learn, grow, and improve is NOT bound by fixed qualities like intelligence or talent, but is instead within their power and reach through hard work and persistence– the results can be astounding!

Check out our Cloverleaf Top 10 books for teaching growth mindset, brought to you by our awesome Ms. Jennifer:


1)  The Most Magnificent Thing,  by Ashley Spires

Kids Can! Press says:  “The main character has an idea– ‘She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!’ But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.”


2)  The Dot,  by Peter H. Reynolds

Good Reads says:  “Vashti thinks she can’t draw – she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. “There!” she says.

That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery.”

3)  Ish,  by Peter A Reynolds

Scholastic says:  “A creative spirit learns that thinking “ish-ly” is far more wonderful than “getting it right” in this gentle new fable from the creator of the award-winning picture book The Dot.

Ramon loved to draw. Anytime. Anything. Anywhere.

Drawing is what Ramon does. It’s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother, Leon, turns Ramon’s carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just “right.”

4)  Fantastic Elastic Brain,  by JoAnn Deak, Ph. D

The DEAK group says:  This innovative and timely picture book teaches children that they have the ability to stretch and grow their own brains. It also delivers the crucial message that mistakes are an essential part of learning. The book introduces children to the anatomy and various functions of the brain in a fun and engaging way.


5)  The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes, by Mark Pett

Amazon says:  “Meet Beatrice Bottomwell: a nine-year-old girl who has never (not once!) made a mistake. She never forgets her math homework, she never wears mismatched socks, and she ALWAYS wins the yearly talent show at school. In fact, Beatrice holds the record of perfection in her hometown, where she is known as The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes. Life for Beatrice is sailing along pretty smoothly until she does the unthinkable–she makes her first mistake. And in a very public way!”


6)  What Do You Do With a Problem?by Kobi Yamada

Unleashing Readers says:  “What do you do with a problem? Especially one that follows you around and doesn’t seem to be going away? Do you worry about it? Ignore it? Do you run and hide from it?

This is the story of a persistent problem and the child who isn’t so sure what to make of it. The longer the problem is avoided, the bigger it seems to get. But when the child finally musters up the courage to face it, the problem turns out to be something quite different than it appeared.”

7)  What Do You Do With an Idea?by Kobi Yamada

Compendium says:  “What do you do with an idea? Especially an idea that’s different, or daring, or a little wild? This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. It’s a story for anyone, at any age, who’s ever had an idea that seemed too big, too odd, too difficult. It’s a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it space to grow, and to see what happens next.”


beautiful oops8)  Beautiful Oops!, by Barney Saltzberg

Good Reads says: “An award winning, best-selling, one-of-a-kind interactive book, Beautiful Oops! shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”—each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.”


rosie revere9)  Rosie Revere, Engineerby Andrea Beaty

Common Sense Media says: “Parents need to know that Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty, tells in lively rhyming verse the story of a second-grade girl who wants to be a great engineer. She loves making gadgets and tries to make a machine for her great-great-great-aunt so she can fly. There are wonderful lessons here about following your dreams and understanding that failure is part of the inventor’s (or engineer’s) process and that you only truly fail if you quit.”


unstoppable me10)  The Unstoppable MeDr. Wayne W. Dyer

Scholastic says: “In Unstoppable Me!, Dr. Dyer teaches children how to hold on to the no-limit thinking he believes they were born with, rather than just trying to “fit in.” In doing so, they can learn to truly enjoy life and become unstoppable as they strive to attain their dreams. The 10 important lessons in this book include the value of taking risks, dealing with stress and anxiety, and learning to enjoy each moment. Each point includes an example showing how a child might apply the concept in his or her everyday life.”


Do you have any favorite books on growth mindset, or any experience with the books listed here?  Leave some ideas in the comments!  Thanks!

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Aug 01

We’re back! Welcome to 2016-17!

Welcome back to another great year at Cloverleaf.

We are so excited to kick off 2016-17!

Since our theme for the year is “Strong Foundation, Strong School,” I want to highlight one of our most foundational elements: The Cloverleaf “4 Cs,” our core values for student learning.  At Cloverleaf we use the words Capable, Considerate, Connected, & Creative a lot — these are the success attributes we strive for and empower students to hone in our program.

Check out what exactly the 4Cs mean to us:

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I cannot wait to see our neurodiverse students become even more capable, connected, considerate, and creative as they engage in a year of student-centered, whole-body learning.  Here’s to a great 2016-17, Cloverleaf Wolves!

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May 26

Cloverleaf students are EMPOWERED!


At Cloverleaf, “student-centered” is much more than just a buzz word.  It is a deeply held value we strive to live out in our educational practices.  Cloverleaf students of all ages take a leading role in their education– they exercise choice and voice, practice goal-setting and reflection, and present their work proudly at student-led conferences three times per year. When I asked them yesterday what their portfolio is for, what they feel proudest of within it, why they created it, and how they felt about it, I was blown away by their answers.  As the school year draws to an end, it was clear to me that our kids spent it getting to know themselves as learners and as people– they are attuned to their strengths and areas for growth, they built confidence as they saw how capable they are, and they developed thinking skills that go much deeper than content knowledge.



“Right here [points] we set 2 main goals for the year.  I think I’ve done great on mine.  It’s been hard and sometimes I can get a little side-tracked.  I think I can still work on coming back from breaks quicker when the teacher says to.  One thing I feel really proud about this year is all the community connection trips we went on.”




“I feel good about how I did on the ideas area in my writing.  I liked these new pages we used [for scoring] this year because it was so organized for me to see how I’m doing.”




“Here’s the one I’m most proud of— my spelling.  I got 98% of the words right!  I’m also on level Z in reading.  I’m pretty good at reading— I don’t know why!”




“It’s my portfolio— I made it because I wanted to show how I learned. I learned how to draw when we read the meatball book. Pictures can help people read better. On this one [points] I tried my best. When you try your best, you learn something. [reads his writing aloud to me.]




“It’s my portfolio.  We put all the stuff in it.  I did this work in Ms. Jennifer’s class. [points.]  I did the numbers in the stars.  I am getting better.  Mom and dad will see me learning!”


“This is my favorite! [points.]  He has rainbow scales.  He swims the ocean.  I did good!  Mom will be so happy!”


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