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What is Grit and Growth Mindset and How to Teach it in the Classroom


Having grit and a growth mindset are hot topics in the classroom at the moment and for very good reason.

The problem is that most products, blog posts, and resources only discuss:

  • What it is
  • What it looks like
  • The importance of it

This line of products allows you to explicitly teach it…by facilitating failure. 

Click Here to Learn More About the Nitty-Gritty BUNDLE

Facilitate Failure in the Classroom

The activities included in this product line are designed to make your students struggle and fail…tossing them into the depths of the learning pit.

Sound a little harsh?


But I can’t think of a better place than the safety of the classroom, in a controlled environment, under the watchful eye of a loving teacher for students to exercise grit and growth mindset.

By facilitating failure, you and your students are able to pinpoint how students uniquely respond to those tough emotions and negative thoughts. This allows students to better recognize them, make sense of them, and in return…

How to capitalize on them.

“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles overcome while trying to succeed.”

– Booker T. Washington

What is grit? What is a growth mindset?  How are they related?

Technically speaking, you could define grit as a personality trait that individuals demonstrate when they work towards a goal with optimism despite facing setbacks, obstacles, or distractions. Studies show that individuals with grit are better able to self-regulate, have a higher degree of social/emotional intelligence, and are less dependent on outside reinforcements because they are internally self-sufficient.

Grit is essentially a trait that can be found in individuals that possess a growth mindset. It could even be said that grit is what students are developing and exercising when they are practicing having a growth mindset.

Growth mindset, on the other hand, can be defined as the belief that talent, intelligence, skills, or proficiency can grow when individuals are willing to practice, put forth effort, and exercise grit.

Why is grit and having a growth mindset important?

It is important to note that neither grit nor growth mindset is static.

Both can be learned.

Both are skills that can be practiced, reformed, and improved. They are not traits or characteristics that some are born with and some are not. Thus we can see the importance of practicing them and facilitating failure in the classroom.

According to three different studies, students or individuals that possess grit or have a growth mindset are more likely to:

  • “…Demonstrate an increased level of self-control, mental well-being, life satisfaction, feelings of worth, resilience and growth mindset.
  • Gritty students were more likely to illustrate a decreased level of perceived stress (Studies 1 and 2).
  • High achieving, successful students were consistently more likely to have overcome personal challenges and obstacles and persevere despite facing obstacles and barriers (Studies 2 and 3).
  • These students were able to strongly identify their long-term goals and strived toward the achievement of these goals with the intention to prove a point (Study 3).
  • Excellent time-management and prioritizing skills were evident in successful students, along with their ability to express self-awareness (Study 3).
  • These high-achieving students held a positive attitude toward learning and life in general and stressed the importance of feedback and constructive criticism in their personal development and growth (Study 3).
  • Finally, these students did not believe success was materialistic. They stressed the importance of happiness, independence, comfort and a stress-free life while recognizing the responsibility they held over their own success (Study 3).”

How to Teach Grit and Growth Mindset in the Classroom

Creating experiences like those mentioned above helps lead to an increase in resilience in the classroom, thus allowing students to practice having grit and a growth mindset…instead of just talking about what it is.

In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Dr. Carol Dweck–professor, author, and even originator of all things growth mindset–pointed out three areas of confusion when it comes to having a growth mindset:

  1. First, people mix up open-mindedness and positivity with having a growth mindset, believing that they have always had a growth mindset and therefore always will.
  2. Second, some people believe that praising and rewarding effort is all that matters.
  3. Finally, sometimes people think that if they talk about a growth mindset, or put up posters about it, that is all that is needed. Without doing any work to create a growth mindset culture or environment, those posters are just papers on a wall.

Click Here to Learn More About the Nitty-Gritty BUNDLE

“Sometimes people think that if they talk about a growth mindset, or put up posters about it, that is all that is needed. Without doing any work to create a growth mindset culture or environment, those posters are just paper on a wall.”

-Dr. Carol Dweck

If we are going to “really” teach students what it is to have grit and a growth mindset, then we are going to have to “really” give students opportunities to experience AND practice it.

As noted, it is not enough to just talk about what it is, what it looks like, and hang up motivational posters in the classroom.

Whether you are an upper elementary, middle school, or high school teacher, these challenges can be implemented into your classroom. I’ve even received messages from school administrations using these challenges in staff trainings.

These challenges are applicable to such a wide range of grade and age levels because they are based on:

  • Thinking outside the box
  • Persevering to solve
  • Learning from mistakes

There is never a wrong time to facilitate failure in the classroom. I’ve designed these challenges to last the entire year.


My team and I would introduce this type of activity during the first week of school. This thoughtful idea to introduce failure came from one of my favorite colleagues. We used it for the first day of math class. Based on what we observed, experienced, and discussed, this type of activity will forever hold a spot in the first week of school lineup.

Probably the most surprising outcome of this activity was how my gifted and talented students responded.

When you think of it, the students with the least amount of exposure to exercising grit or a growth mindset are the students that school comes the easiest to.

The grittiest students are those that are used to struggling and working hard every. single. day. There is so much value in these lessons and the discussions and experiences they bring.

It is simply not enough to define what grit and a growth mindset is: it must be practiced in a controlled environment where you can mentor them through their thought process. Instead of hoping they apply what you discussed in a lesson when their trial comes along, you can be confident in knowing you have given them adequate practice and necessary skills.


A tough activity designed to encourage failure is the perfect discussion starter as to why it is so important we facilitate a growth mindset and know what grit is.

Once introduced, I continue to introduce approximately one new activity a week until the end of the year. I like to give students about a week per activity.

This gives them time to wrestle strategies or questions and ponder on the challenge at hand.

***Remember a key component of grit is endurance.

Grit is something displayed over time.***

As tempting as it is to give them the answers they so desperately want, the wrestle is the most important part. With many of these challenges, the solution is SIMPLE. However, it requires the students to think outside the box. This thought process will not come if time is not afforded. Plus, the joy and satisfaction are that much greater once a struggle and multiple failures have been encountered.



My favorite part of this product line is the reflection sheet.

Students identify an emotion in the learning pit that best illustrates where they were before the activity ended. The reflection page is only included in the paid products, not the free samples or activities

Free Samples or Activities:

The following activities listed above do not include the reflection sheet. 

If you love this activity and you’re on board with facilitating failure throughout the school year, make sure to check out these activities. Remember the reflection sheets are included with the paid challenges.

Simply Stated

Of all the things we teach our students, it’s hard to think of a concept or objective in the curriculum as important as instilling grit or how to have a growth mindset. Giving students the tools they need to face adversity or challenges with optimism, control, and resilience is a skill that will carry them to a brighter future.

That’s the goal of educators everywhere: provide students the tools to create a brighter future.

The Nitty-Gritty MEGA Bundle

If this resonates with you, check out the Nitty-Gritty MEGA BUNDLE. These activities were created to be used together throughout the year. When you purchase the bundle instead of individual challenges, you save BIG.  So big TPT actually warns me about my bundle discounts! 😅 This product includes access to over 60 pages and 35  DIGITAL and printable activities. You can also purchase the challenges individually. See descriptions for more information.

The Nitty-Gritty Bundle includes the reflection page as well as challenges 1-5 and 7. Challenge 6 is a free exclusive to On Lemon Lane Members.

Not a member? Not a problem. Sign up is FAST, FREE, and Easy-Peasy, Lemon-Squeezy! Click here to become a member! Already a member? Click here to sign in.

Click Here to SHOP the Nitty-Gritty BUNDLE.

***This product line has been updated. Many of the challenges now have a digital counterpart and work perfectly as a Google Slide assignment! See product descriptions for more information.*** 

Want to learn more about each challenge? Click here for a more in-depth look at each activity! 

Try it for FREE

The following downloads are FREE or include a FREE Sample. Put your email in the form below to have a FREE sample of The Nitty-Gritty Bewilderer Challenge #7 delivered straight to your inbox!  


As far as I’m concerned, there’s no better place to foster failure than in the classroom with a teacher like you as their guide through the depths of the learning pit. Skills like these will carry students through more than just academics.

Can’t wait to hear what you think! Better yet, what did your students think? Comment below or let’s connect on Instagram or Facebook! Share pictures, pretty please!

Like this? Make sure to check out these 🍋Included Freebies!🍋

Click on the image to learn more.





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  1. I love that you included the learning pit reflection page with these activities. One of the questions says “At any point during the activity did you demonstrate: Guts, Growth, Goals, Resilience, Resolve, Re-Do, Initiative, Integrity, Innovation, Tenacity, Thoroughness…etc. ” Do you have a PowerPoint or other resource that defines these terms for students?

April Fools’ Day is TOMORROW
I know many of you are coming off Spring Break, to lighten the load and add a little laughter to the classroom I quickly put together a fun and FREE activity/ joke to play on your class 💛 This impossible word search is in disguise as a #nationalpoetrymonth activity. Students will try and find words like stanza, verse, and rhyme... but won’t come up with a dime! 😉 They may however come up with words like tomfoolery, bogus, shenanigan, joke, buffoonery...etc 😂😂😂 Hope you and your class enjoy it, and this brightens your day! Tag me if you decide to use it, tags completely make my day! Comment below and I’ll DM you the link💛

Are you using my FREE Pi Day Activity like• @sunnyinclass

This fun FREEBIE works with ANY circular treat and is such a fun activity for students to explore and calculate Pi on Pi Day!

Comment below if you want me to DM you the opt in link 💛
Thank so much for the tag @sunnyinclass 💛 I can’t wait to hear what your 5th graders think! #l

#piday #pidayactivities #pidayatschool #pidayintheclassroom #mathteacher #math #mathactivities #mathactivity #mathactivitiesforkids #5thgrademath #5thgrade #5thgradecollaborate #ediblemath #edibleactivities #foodintheclassroom #havefunteaching #havefunlearning

Guys.... I’m not usually one to toot my own horn.... but 🎺 🎺. You HAVE to try this in your classroom. I racked my brain to come up with a pie recipe that didn’t require melting butter, a hand mixer, oven, or mess, that still incorporated math and fun. When plastic bags came to mind I couldn’t find anything that supported the idea of whipped cream in a bag but, in theory it should work.... IT. DOES. Every “piece” of that pie #punintended is made in a ziplock bag with ingredients that simply require measuring. Best part, it’s delicious. This is SURE to be a favorite and memorable activity with your class! 💛 be sure to tag me, I can’t wait to hear all about it!.

Link can be found in my story, or comment below for the link! Link includes the email opt-in for my March Freebie Bundle, that includes TWO no-prep Pi Day activities.
Comment below if you plan to try this activity with your class tomorrow or comment if you’d like me to DM you the link to the Pi Day FREEBIE opt in 👊

When an idea for an activity turns out EVEN better than you imagined?!
Add a little spice to your Stuck in a Snow Glove activity! Your Upper-Grade students will LOVE this activity!
If you already own this product head to your TPT account and re-download to access ALL the updates I made to this pretty little thing. Just when I thought I couldn’t love this one any more…
❄️In short it’s MAGICAL❄️
Head to my story or link in bio for more info…
How many days do you have left until winter break? Comment ⬇️

I love the idea that the best way we can remember September 11 and #neverforget is to remember the love, and unity that was felt September 12th, and to strive to live that way each day.
On September 12th we were one nation under God.
Seeking justice for all.
Love this beautiful depiction by @paigepayne_creations see her thoughts on September 12th below.
“ And on September 12th, we all came together. We were one. My family was living in Scotland when 9/11 happened. It was everywhere, all over the news. In school the day after, we had a long moment of silence in remembrance of those who were lost. We continued to have an annual moment of silence every year after that. It was incredible that even thousands and thousands of miles apart, we were mourning with those that mourned. We were one. At that time, we all displayed what we are capable of. Even in the face of incomprehensible tragedy, humans are capable of immense love. Capable of setting aside differences and coming together as one. As we remember and pay tribute to the thousands of lives the were lost that day, let us also strive to be more like how we were on September 12, 2001. Full of love, understanding, and compassion for each other. “

This painting is inspired by a beautiful photo taken by @masseya ❤️

#911 #911memorial #9eleven #911remembrance #thetwintowers #neverforget #neverforgotten #unity #love

Tag your #teachertribe and every #firstyearteacher below for this important reminder:
As you set up your classroom for the new school year, and start divvying out materials… Do no forget to set aside 2-4 new student kits.
Just like @adifferentiatedclass (shown in picture) I made sets using Gallon ziplocks.
If you are in a developing community with new housing I recommend a minimum of 4 bags 🙀
What to include:
🍋If you adhere the plates to the desk, have a segment of what you use in the pack.
🍋Welcome Treat (same one you’ve given to each student at the open house/back to school...etc.
🍋Whatever else you’ve set aside for students that begin on the first day of school.
📣📣📣There will likely come a day when without warning you will be notified you have a new student, and the student will start THAT DAY. Save yourself and your poor new student the stress of frantically trying to get everything set up, by preparing NOW.
Veteran teachers what else do you include in your new student kits?? Share in the comments below⬇️⬇️⬇️
📸: @adifferentiatedclass

How satisfying/ beautiful 😻 is this #classroomorganization tip by @the_organized_classroom
Use paint swatches as a visual to help students sort supplies! Keep this is mind as you set up your classroom for the school year!
What’s a brilliant #teacherhack you’ve tried or seen done with paint swatches??? Comment below 👇
I’ll leave mine in the comments!

Guys… I had a baby 🥰 Almost 10 months ago 😳 I STRUGGLE to consistently show up on this platform, but know how happy I am that you are here!
There are a lot of new faces around here so I thought we should take the time to get to know each other!
PLEASE comment below with what we have in common, or something we will never see eye to eye with 😜
A few things to know about me😬
🍋 My name is Tara, I’m the creator behind @teachingonlemonlane
🍋 Lemon was my maiden name and my love for all things lemon runs deep.
🍋 I’m a fresh lemonade connoisseur, and will not touch store bought/ from the tap.
🍋 My patronus is a wolf 🐺 #potterhead
🍋 A piece of my heart will always be in #5thgrade and New Orleans
🍋 I’m a novice flower gardener and LOVE to experiment with different blooms.
🍋 Ben and I will celebrate our 10 year this year and have 3 kiddos under 5 💀
🍋 Go Red Sox ⚾️
🍋#bucketlist item: New Zealand, Hobbiton, ride the #nevisswing 😳
🍋 Teaching item(s) I can’t live without…Binder clips😎 You should see what I can #macgyver with a couple clips… also, flair pens. #cliché 🤓
YOUR TURN: Tell me something about you in the comments!

To my dear teacher friends still in school, I've got a FREE Father’s Day project I think you will love! Those of you are home with kiddos of your own, consider this fun activity for your Father’s Day Celebration! This is a great #endofyearproject that doubles as a #fathersdaygift 💛🍋💛
This product is available in both a printable and digital version that’s completely editable through Google. If you have a student or child interested in Digital Design, this is a fun way to introduce and experiment with different design tools. Because there are so many different types of situations and circumstances when it comes to a father the words father or dad are never actually used. Which makes this the perfect card to give to any figure that has taken on that important role. Whomever that is, they should be celebrated!

Need #bulletinboardideas for March.... I’ve got you👊 like almost all of my Bulletin Board Kits, they center around student work and are made up of EASY TO CUT, Editable 🙊, ready to print and assemble slides!
Make sure to check out the Lucky Because Bulletin Board BUNDLE get ALL this for only $3.99☘️☘️☘️☘️ The Clover craft is the PERFECT craft for tomorrow!

If you’ve followed me for long you know I love all things March and Irish ☘️ it’s in my blood 🙃
My love of March shows in my resources, of all the months to have the most projects... March (of all the months???) is at the top of the list!
I just added this CELTIC KNOT inspired Lucky Clover Craft and it turned out so fun! Use either the DIGITAL version and insert pictures into the leaves that represent why you’re lucky, or pick from one of the 18 different top layer options to create a beautiful clover like the one shown above! If you do go this route make sure to check out the EDITABLE bulletin board kit to really put these beauties on display!
Do you love March? Why or why not? Drop a comment below 💛💛

Selection Sunday and PI Day falling on the same day... Somebody pinch me. Two of my very favorites because of the projects you can start in your classroom 😍 Take for instance my March Math Madness PBL
Think March Madness + Fantasy Basketball + Lots of Math + A sprinkle of ELA = Engagement & Excitement & Learning 💛🏀💛
Students are separated into the 4 divisions then work together to put together a new starting 5 from players in their division. #dreamteam Each round their individual players are awards point values for how they played. At the end of each round students will calculate their team’s total points and decide which dream team comes out victorious! There are some really great opportunities to see Math in action. There’s opportunity for measurement conversion, converting fractions to decimals, ordering decimals, ratios, mean-median-mode, adding and subtracting decimals, multiplying decimals...etc. This is quickly becoming another tried and true favorite in the classroom!
Also if you think your too late to the table, the only thing you are late for is brackets! The dream team activity can be started before any round! Second round would actually be ideal 👊🏻👊🏻 LOTS of FREEBIE extensions for this product that can stand on their own! Head to the website for more details!

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