Growth Mindset Sorting Activity

Amazon affiliate links may be included in this blog post. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases.

The freebie for today, the Growth Mindset/Closed Mindset Sorting Activity is a great tool to begin to teach learners the difference between growth and closed mindset.

Today, we have a great resource for you: a worksheet on growth mindset sorting. Do you have a growth or closed mindset (also called a fixed mindset)?  Are you a glass half full or half empty kind of person?  Understanding growth mindset versus closed mindset and an awareness of mindset in general is the beginning of self reflection. A lot of this has to do with metacognition!

growth mindset sorting activity

Not everyone is going to be the best athlete, a top winner on Jeopardy, or a world renowned musician, but they can get better. When you have an understanding on the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, one can use that internal knowledge to foster better skills to succeed no matter what the outcome of a particular situation might be.

It can be hard to deal with some of life’s situations. But, with a growth mindset frame of mind, perhaps we can foster a “realistic growth mindset”. Knowing what is a fixed mindset and what is an open mindset (or the ability to grow and develop), can help!

Having he ability to stop and think to use a growth mindset response, before responding to a given situation can mean the difference in functional performance.


While, a growth mindset means that you believe your intelligence can be changed over time. With a fixed or closed mindset you believe your skills are stuck. If you are not good at something, you will never be. 

Researchers have been studying neuroplasticity, learning that the brain can grow and change over an entire lifetime, not just in childhood.  So you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! Even that old saying has moved into a growth mindset mode!

Fixed Mindset Examples

These examples of a fixed mindset come from a place of not seeing a potential for change or an opportunity to grow and develop. Have you heard things like…

  • Failing at something is a huge waste of time.
  • I’m not good at ______. I was just born this way.
  • It’s not worth trying, I’m not good at it.
  • I’m not good an anything.
  • I don’t like hard things.
  • I’ll never change.

Growth mindset

People with a growth mindset understand that their skills and talents can be developed through teaching, effort, and persistence. Mindset, or attitude, shapes the way people view themselves. 

There is a big difference between, “I am not good at sports” and “I am not good at sports yet”. Read our blog on the power of yet for more information on this concept.

With enough practice and time, most people can improve their skills.  One way to support this skill acquisition is through fostering an awareness of growth mindset mistakes.

Having the ability to utilize information in the moment and apply a growth mindset is a form of mental dexterity, which develops over time.

growth mindset examples

Some examples of a growth mindset include:

  • Challenges make my brain stronger.
  • I try hard things.
  • I can get better at things through hard work and effort.
  • Mistakes help me learn.
  • I listen to feedback from others.
  • I like challenges.

Growth Mindset Vs. Fixed Mindset Sorting Activity

The freebie for today, the Growth Mindset/Closed Mindset Sorting Activity is a great tool to begin to teach learners the difference between growth and closed mindset.

Understanding and adopting this point of view, is the starting point of learning to develop realistic goals. Learners will cut the worksheet into sections, read the phrases, then sort them into their respective categories. 

This growth mindset vs. closed mindset sorting activity can be more than a cognitive task. The following skills can be addressed in addition to the brain work sorting out mindset phrases:

  • Hand strength and dexterity – staying on the lines during cutting builds hand muscles and develops muscle control
  • Visual motor skills –Combining what is seen visually and what is written motorically.  This takes coordination to be able to translate information from visual input to motor output. Coloring, drawing, counting, cutting, and tracing are some visual motor skills
  • Cutting on the line within half inch of lines, in the direction of lines
  • Pasting using glue stick or drippy glue with accuracy
  • Visual Perception – scanning to determine which is the correct column, visual memory to remember what was read long enough to find the correct row, and visual attention to filter out relevant information. 
  • Sequencing – will your learner do the phrases in order?  Do they look for the easy and/or obvious answers first, or go in a haphazard pattern all over the page?  
  • Proprioception – pressure on paper/glue/scissors
  • Social/Executive Function – Following directions, turn taking, task completion, orienting to details, neatness, multi-tasking, attending to task, and impulse control can be addressed using this Growth Mindset/Closed Mindset Sorting Task. This is a great tool for self-regulation too.
  • Bilateral coordination – remembering to use their “helper hand” to hold the paper while cutting/pasting/writing.  Using one hand for a dominant hand instead of switching back and forth is encouraged once a child is in grade school, or demonstrates a significant strength in one or the other
  • Strength – core strength, shoulder and wrist stability, head control, balance, and hand strength are all needed for upright sitting posture and writing tasks

This growth mindset/closed mindset sorting worksheet can be modified to make it easier or harder to accomplish

  • Pair this mindset sorting activity with our growth mindset posters for a visual that can be hung in a classroom, bedroom, therapy clinic, etc.
  • Learners can write sentences to explore their own growth or closed mindset ways of thinking.
  • Using our resource on breaking down goals is another tool to support this skill.
  • Working independently, in pairs, or as a group changes the dynamics of the task
  • Read aloud to your learners or have them read and process independently
  • Make this part of a larger lesson plan including gross motor, sensory, social, executive function, or other fine motor skills
  • Cut the shapes and make a matching game instead of having students cut their own shapes
  • Enlarge the page, darken the lines, use highlighter for the cutting borders
  • Project this page onto a smart board for students to come to the board and move the pieces around
  • More or less prompting may be needed to grade the activity to make it easier or harder
  • Drippy wet glue is messy, and not as convenient as glue stick, however it is superior for different reasons.  The added benefit is the sensory input from touching the wet glue, as well as fine motor strengthening from squeezing the bottle
  • Add a gross motor task, sensory activity, or counseling session
  • Laminating this task makes it eco friendly and reusable
  • Combine several growth mindset tasks to make more of an impact, or treatment plan. The OT Toolbox has several resources on growth mindset.
  • Here is an Amazon affiliate link to several books and resources to help children develop a positive mindset (affiliate link).

Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Is this growth mindset/closed mindset something you are born with, or does it develop over time?  This is the age-old question. Why do some people have a great attitude, while others feel their glass is half empty? 

Mindset could be genetic, based on past experiences, environmental influences, parenting, a chemical imbalance, socioeconomic status, or a combination of all of these. 

Whatever the cause or influence, the brain is constantly developing, and can be rewired over and over again.

People who wonder if the glass is half empty or half full miss the point that the glass is refillable. Empower your learners to adopt a healthy realistic mindset.

Free Mindset Sorting Worksheet

Want to get your hands on this free mindset sorting worksheet to start developing growth strategies to support learning even when things don’t turn out as planned? Grab your copy below!

Growth Mindset Sorting Activity

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    This activity is also inside The Member’s Club, along with hundreds of other resources and tools. You’ll love the toolbox full of growth mindset resources, but there are many other skills and therapy themes available, too!

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

    growth mindset sorting activity

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