The Main Ingredients of a Growth Mindset in Preschool

In our fervent commitment to professional development and incorporating current and best practices in the field of education, teachers at TPS took an online course through Stanford University about teaching math.  Applying what we learned, we asked the children to participate in a "number talk."  Here is a snapshot of what happened.

Inspired by Election Day, the Lunas and Estrellas preschool groups honed their one-to-one correspondence skills when we gave each of them a felt counter to "vote" on which bread we would make for baking day.  Our choices this week were between two of our favorites— banana and pumpkin.  In half groups the children each had a turn to stand at the easel and graph his or her choice of bread.  The Estrellas wound up with a tie, 5-5, while the Lunas outvoted banana bread by two votes making it a 6-4 vote.  The winner?  Pumpkin bread by just two votes!

The next day we assembled all the ingredients needed to bake our bread: flour (gluten-free), sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, oil, water, eggs and, of course, pumpkin!

We took turns mixing and stirring after each ingredient was added and transferred the bread batter into three small loaf pans.  Several volunteers helped carry the bread to the big oven in our kitchen.  After 30 minutes, we checked the pumpkin bread, and it was ready!  We carefully placed the three still-warm loaf pans on a mat in the middle of our Morning Meeting circle. We asked the children to put on their thinking caps as we looked at the bread and thought about how to divide the three loaves among 21 children—our first official number talk!"Here were some of their suggestions.  

  •  “You can cut them in little pieces with a knife.”
  •  “A really sharp knife.”
  •  “We could rip them.”
  • “We could cut them inch by inch.”
  • “Cut them in half and then cut them straight and make sure there’s enough pieces for everyone on a plate.”

And that is what we did — slice and serve a delicious pumpkin bread snack to the Luna and Estrella mathematicians.  We made sure there were enough pieces for everyone.

Here are the ingredients in our pumpkin bread recipe:

1 1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1/2 can pumpkin