Review by Ericka D, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2018

7 Mindsets

Thought-provoking structured program simplifies SEL skills

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Character & SEL
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
K–12
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Pros: Incredibly detailed and organized lessons help students dig deep.

Cons: Can be repetitious, and for the price, the lack of a student progress dashboard is disappointing.

Bottom Line: If teachers take advantage of the extension activities, students can get great in-depth instruction and practice in SEL skills needed for life.

Teachers can pick up 7 Mindsets and go. Students typically experience this program through a sit-and-get model; they'll be partnered in groups while the teacher presents it through a projector or smartboard. However, there are some rotations and activities that the students will be able to participate in. Teachers may also wish to take advantage of the supplementary activities and have their classes play games together or create their own lyrics to a music video. You may wish to combine classrooms with another grade-level teacher, or your school counselor may prefer to come in weekly and teach the lessons in each course.

Consider using 7 Mindsets as part of a daily or weekly "advisory” homeroom for older grade levels. For high school students, consider setting up an elective course where students can complete civil service activities. Incorporate the lessons in civics classes or shorten them to fit into a homeroom schedule. For the younger grades, consider having the lessons as part of your social studies instruction, or even as an after-recess activity to promote classroom cohesion. 

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7 Mindsets is a web-based program that teaches students the skills needed to master social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies. The 7 Mindsets are Everything Is Possible, Passion First, We Are Connected, 100% Accountable, Attitude of Gratitude, Live to Give, and The Time Is Now. After choosing their students' grade level (elementary, middle, or high school), teachers select one of several courses, which is typically an introduction, practice, or evaluation. Each course has 7-10 units, which have 1-4 lessons in each unit. Each lesson has a print-and-go lesson plan and provides the objective, a list of necessary materials, and a full script to go along with the web-based presentation. Some of the lessons also have videos embedded. A teacher typically implements the lessons in a lecture-style format and asks questions of the students. Students can respond in pairs, in small groups, or in front of the entire class. They may also be able to complete activities together (e.g., creating a classroom poster) and put what they've learned into practice (e.g., sharing materials and giving compliments), but these are typically extension activities.

7 Mindsets also has a community dashboard for educators to dive into the implementation guide, which gives a scope and sequence for implementing the program (from getting staff buy-in to overall program evaluation). A Parent Zone provides newsletters for families as well as activities to complete at home, in addition to presentations that could be delivered at a parent night. A Professional Development center has self-paced or facilitated PD opportunities and lets educators explore their own core beliefs. A Leadership Zone has resources to assist in implementing 7 Mindsets school-wide. Staff can also elect into Mindsets University training conferences, which are held annually in varying locations. Finally, the Resource Hub houses additional content, like icebreaker activities, games, books, blogs, extra lessons, and more. 

7 Mindsets does a great job of defining 10 SEL competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships skills, decision-making, resilience, growth mindset, empathy, sense of purpose, and hope. It also helps students put them into practice. Teachers who love print-and-go lessons will appreciate the structured nature of the curriculum. From the student perspective, the lessons are thought-provoking and informative. However, because the overall layout of the lessons (i.e., sit and get, whole-group instruction, group rotations) appears to be similar week after week, some students may find it repetitious. The lessons suggest breaking up student responses into either a think-pair-share group or into small groups with one facilitator. However, the overall lesson layout still requires students to listen to a prompt, discuss it, and return their attention back to a lecture-based model. There are some suggestions for follow-up activities, like having students create a classroom poster together at the end of the lesson, which students will enjoy, but this requires extra time and materials. It would be nice if students were able to achieve guided or independent practice, instead of simply discussing the content with their peer group or with the teacher.

Even if the layout feels redundant, the content is excellent for student and adult learning. 7 Mindsets offers a Resource Hub, Parent Center, Leadership Zone, professional development, and Mindsets University conferences, which truly lay out the scope and sequence of the program in a way that's structured and achievable without becoming overwhelming. Educators, parents, and students alike will enjoy the depth of content as well as the organized way in which the material is presented.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The initial novelty of the well-developed curriculum will reel students in, even if it feels a bit repetitious. Lessons incorporate both whole-group instruction and small-group discussion, so students can be leaders in their own learning.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

The strongest part of the program is the depth and coverage of social and emotional skills; the material is robust without being overwhelming. Students can easily transfer the skills they learn into everyday life.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

While the content is well-organized and extension opportunities abound, it lacks the ability to track student progress. Some educators may find this liberating, but others may prefer a dashboard to monitor student learning.


Common Sense Reviewer
Ericka D Counselor, psychologist, or social worker

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