MINDSETS IN THE CLASSROOM: Increase Student Achievement


[semester equivalent = 3.33 credits]



Brenda McKinney



Why do some children succeed while others fail? Have you experienced burnout with certain students and are not sure where to turn? Let’s turn this around. When students believe that dedication and hard work can change their performance in school, they grow to become resilient, successful students. Mindsets in the Classroom provides educators with ideas and strategies to build and maintain a growth mindset culture. The focus is on how persistence, hard work and grit can change students' school performance. All teachers are looking for tools that will ignite a love of learning while communicating that every student can succeed. Do you want to find out how to capture and identify that mindset?  Are you ready to create successful and resilient learners? Are you interested in learning the new research on IQ and brain plasticity in order to motivate and engage all students? Then join me for this exciting and transformative course. I recommend this course to any teacher, student, administrator, parent or professional developer who is looking to up their game. You do NOT need to have READ Mindset: The New Psychology of Success or taken the Mindset course from this instructor. (The Mindset course is an appropriate introduction to this learning) This course is appropriate for grades K-12, parents, leaders in any business.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. Discovered the latest research on neuroplasticity and how we can change IQ.
  2. Discovered the growth mindset model to end the pattern of failure.
  3. Defined fixed and growth mindsets and understand their role in the classroom.
  4. Learned how and why their students may lose their capacity for growth and challenge.
  5. Assessed the role of a differentiated responsive classroom as it relates to mindset.
  6. Connected the idea that effort, persistence, and grit are as essential to learning as curriculum.
  7. Learned how to increase receptiveness to learning and how to mitigate adverse factors/behaviors.
  8. Discovered the role of failure in learning and how not to fail.
  9. Learned how to create a growth mindset classroom and motivate all learners.
  10. Designed activities/strategies to create a shift in mindset in the classroom and help every learner be successful.
  11. Designed activities to increase motivation and effort.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



The course text is, Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools, by Mary Cay Ricci; used from $14 on Amazon. ISBN: 978-1-61821-081-9.

An optional text for 500 level participants is, Teaching that Changes Lives: 12 Mindset Tools for Igniting the Love of Learning, used from $11, on Amazon.  ISBN: 978-1-60994-569-5.

  • Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Growth Mindset Learning Community
    ISBN# 1618210815
    by Ricci, Mary Cay
    Prufrock Press

    Buy from Amazon


Course text varies from $11 to 14 depending on the text you choose. Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools, is approximately $14 from Amazon. ISBN: 978-1-61821-081-9. An optional text for 500 level participants is, Teaching that Changes Lives: 12 Mindset Tools for Igniting the Love of Learning, used from $11, on Amazon.


Brenda McKinney, CEO of Vancouver, WA based BrainVolution, is a developer and dynamic facilitator of workshops that teach practical thinking and learning tools for raising student achievement with the brain in mind. She has trained educators throughout the Pacific Northwest and is a popular presenter because of her ability to motivate, make things fun, and teach practical techniques for the classroom that can be used immediately. Brenda continues to read hundreds of books and articles on the subject of neuroscience and searches for the answer to success for every student. Her work with at-risk students and those with reading problems have made her a popular speaker at the state, regional and national level.

Brenda is able to synthesize the new research and continues to address the role of how to use the latest findings to create high achievement classroom. She brings 30+ years of experience at the elementary, middle school, high school and university level as a mentor teacher, consultant, motivational speaker, university instructor, and reading specialist. Brenda has her Master’s in Education from Washington State University and is nationally certified in Brain Based Learning through the renowned  Jensen Corporation, led by Eric Jensen, a noted international spokesperson for neuroscience and education.


Brenda will inspire and motivate you with her energy, enthusiasm and knowledge. Her wisdom, techniques, and brain based approach to education will inspire you and challenge you to meet the demands of this ever changing world.



MINDSETS IN THE CLASSROOM: Increase Student Achievement


Adams, Merilee, PhD. Teaching that Changes Lives. 12 Mindset Tool for Igniting the Love of Learning. Bernett Koehler Publications. 2013.
Marilee Adams, the originator of Question Thinking, presents a compelling model for creating a classroom environment infused with curiosity, creativity, and caring. Through a moving story of a teacher on the verge of burnout, Adams demonstrates the powerful influence our mindsets have on how we interact with our students, our colleagues, and ourselves. Through vivid examples, she illustrates how cultivating what she calls a Learner Mindset leads to breakthroughs in critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.  On the outside this book seems rather simplistic, but her idea of the listener and judger along with the life map really got my attention and helped me focus on the specific needs teachers experience in the classroom. I think all of you should read this book. It goes fast and is easy to read.
Coyle, Daniel. The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. Bantam Books. 2009. Everyone knows that practice is a key to success. What everyone doesn’t know is that specific kinds of practice can increase skill up to ten times faster than conventional practice. We all need a little motivation to get started. But what separates truly high achievers from the rest of the pack? A higher level of commitment or passion.  This is a good read for all teachers and provides the opportunity to think about what really fuels the commitment to find success and how you can help the kids adjust that mindset and get on this path.
Dweck, Carol. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Ballantine Books. 2007. Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success—but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals—personal and professional.  If you haven’t read the book, please do. It is essential for every aspect of life. If you haven’t signed up for my course, please do. There is nothing like diving into the learning and coming out transformed. This book is the real deal. Views about learning and intelligence have changed. Growth mindset is needed for all of us whether we are in the classroom or not.
Medina, John. Brain Rules for Babies & Brain Rules.  Pear Press. 2014.  Dr. John Medina showed us how our brains really work—and why we ought to redesign our workplaces and schools. Tons of advice and practical information for ages up to 12.  Medina is delightful and the research amazing. He has an entire section on mindset. Let’s get started early. That is the key.
Ricci, Mary Cay. Mindsets in the Classroom. Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools. Prufrock Press. 2013. When students believe that dedication and hard work can change their performance in school, they grow to become resilient, successful students. Inspired by the popular mindset idea that hard work and effort can lead to success, Mindsets in the Classroom provides educators with ideas for ways to build a growth mindset school culture, wherein students are challenged to change their thinking about their abilities and potential. The book includes a planning template, step-by-step description of a growth mindset culture, and "look-fors" for adopting a differentiated, responsive instruction model teachers can use immediately in their classrooms.
Ricci, Mary Cay. Ready-to-Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom: Everything Educators Need for School Success. Prufrock Press. 2015.
Ready-to-Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom provides educators with all of the tools they need to help students change their thinking about their abilities and potential. Featuring ready-to-use, interactive tools such as planning templates, letters for parents, pre-assessments, compare and contrast charts, online resources for parents, lists of books that teach perseverance, handouts that teach students about their brains, self-reflection checklists, surveys, and a unique study guide for the original book, this book is perfect for schools looking to implement the ideas in Mindsets in the Classroom quickly, easily, and successfully.  Probably more appropriate for elementary or middle school. Great additions if you are interested.
Tough, Paul. How Children Succeed. Grit Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character. Mariner Books. 2012. Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.  Everyone should have read this book on developing grit and curiosity. I can’t recommend it enough.
Mindset website:
Mindset Works website:
Mindset book (Carol Dweck):
The Talent Myth by Malcolm Gladwell:
Eduardo Briceno TedX talk:
Pgs. 155-161, Mindsets in the Classroom
Excellent ideas. Check it out.
Practical tools. You will enjoy this one.