Every year my colleagues and I do a lesson on “grit” — perseverance — (the full lesson is in my book, and I also have a “The Best” list on grit resources).

This year, I made an addition at the end. After students read about “grit” research and learn about a “growth mindset,” I give students an 8″ X 14″ piece of paper. The divide into three equal parts, and I ask them to write at the top of the first “frame”: “When I Have Shown Grit In The Past.” They write a sentence about a time they have shown it, and then draw a picture. Then, in the second frame, they write “In school, I will show grit in the future by….” They complete the sentence for whichever task they want (students have written “…doing work I don’t want to do”; “reading when I don’t feel like it,” etc.) and draw a picture of them doing it. They do something similar in the third frame, though they have a choice of doing it in school or elsewhere. Students share what they wrote, and then I post them up in the classroom and they copy what they wrote in their notebooks.

Students can then refer to them in their visualization exercises, and I can also remind them of their “grit” goals. I tell ya’, it’s a lot more energizing for me, and I think for them, when I tell them, “remember your grit goal” then “get back to work!”