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What Zone Are You In Poster

I’m excited to share a new What Zone Are You In poster with you today.

So, it’s Saturday morning.  I told myself that I was going to spend all day Saturday working on getting all of my activities planned, quizzes written, and copies made for the upcoming week.  Let’s see.  I’ve finished a novel this morning.  I’ve decided what each class will be doing each day next week.  I’ve been working on getting my bloglovin feed caught up.  Only 640 more blog posts to read!  In my defense, it was over 800 this morning when I started.  

So, I have made some progress.  I’ve spent a little time on twitter.  And, my second load of laundry of the day is currently spinning around in the washing machine.  And, I ordered my first Staples Engineering Print.

So, before I delve into a few hours of writing quizzes and homework assignments, I want to share my latest poster creation.  I can’t show you the finished product, because, well, it’s not exactly finished yet.  This is what I ordered from Staples online this morning.  I won’t pick it up until tomorrow afternoon.  And, then I will still have to laminate it.  Except, Mardel isn’t open on Sundays, so it may be a week or two before this finds a home in my classroom.

I know exactly what you are thinking right now.  You’re thinking, “Sarah, have you lost your mind?  We’ve seen the pictures of your classroom.  You do realize that there is absolutely zero blank wall space in your classroom to hang a new poster, right?”  And, to that, I say, “Uhhhhhh, I will have you know that there are two places in my classroom that I have yet to decorate.  And, they feel kinda left out.  They are just begging to have some on them.”

This poster was inspired by the lovely Beth Ferguson’s blog.  We’re both working on instilling a growth mindset in our students this year.  Isn’t her bulletin board just lovely?

When I saw Beth’s “In what Zone are YOU?” poster, I knew I had to have one!  Since my sister is an art major education major, I asked her for advice in making my own version of this poster.  Secretly, I was hoping she would do the project for me.  

Nope.  She suggested that I design the poster on the computer and print it off because she didn’t think I would be happy with the results if we tried to make one by hand.  We both tend to be perfectionists.  Plus, I’m not an artist.  Oops.  I guess that’s the fixed mindset coming out.  I haven’t trained my brain in art.  Learning art would be doable, but it would take time and effort.

My students prefer the comfort zone.  Hello, I prefer my own comfort zone.  Since graduating from college, God and I have been working on this a lot.  He’s continually placing me in situations that pull me out of my comfort zone.  Though I dread these situations, they have actually all turned out great.  Leaving my comfort zone hasn’t killed me, and I’ve actually enjoyed it.  He’s been there with me every single step of the way.  

I’m becoming a different person.  A happier person.  A more confident person.  I’m slowly but surely learning to go after what I want instead of what I *think* that others would prefer me to do.  I’m not going to lie and say the journey to where I am today has been easy.  It hasn’t.  But, I’m a better, stronger person for having gone through it.

In my relationship with God, He is constantly pulling me out of my comfort zone into the learning zone.  In the learning zone, we attempt things that we think are beyond our abilities, but these are things we CAN accomplish with hard work and support.  The panic zone exists beyond the learning zone.  These are things that we do not have the ability or support to do YET.  (See, there’s growth mindset showing up again!)

As one of my 30 Awesome Facts You Should Probably Know About Ms. Hagan, I shared with my students that I failed swimming lessons.  Multiple times.  I think when I introduce these zones to my students, I will use this analogy:

For me, my comfort zone would be a hotel swimming pool.  You know, the kind where the water only gets 5 feet deep.  I’m 5’7″, so I can swim around the pool without worrying about drowning.  Whenever I attempt to swim laps and end up swallowing a bunch of water in my attempts to breathe while swimming like I see them do in the Summer Olympics, all I have to do is stand up.  My feet will touch the bottom of the pool.  Life will be okay.

My learning zone would be the city swimming pool.  The water is deeper there.  They actually allow diving.  There are places in the pool where I can’t stand up.  If I’m attempting to swim laps and start to realize that it’s too much for me, I have several options.  I can attempt to swim to the side of the pool and hang onto the edge.  Or, I can signal to the life guard that I’m in distress.  It’s still a safe place, but I’m having to take more risks.  The stakes are higher, but they shouldn’t lead to my death.

My panic zone would be if somebody took me out in the middle of the lake or ocean in their boat, let me jump into the water and then drove off.  Seeing as I can’t tread water, this would not be a good situation to find myself in.  There is no lifeguard.  There is no ability to just to put my feet down and stand up.  I’m on my own in a situation I’m not prepared for.

My goal is that my classroom is structured so that my students are always in the learning zone.  If we’re doing stuff that they can do in their sleep, I haven’t done my job.  If they feel like they are drowning and I’m not there to help them, I’m not doing my job.  If they feel like what we are doing is difficult but know that I’m there to support them every step of the way, then we’re making progress.

I think it would be great to have students assess on a weekly/monthly (?) basis what zone they feel like they are in and why.  Could be eye-opening!  Maybe make this an exit ticket???

Here’s my first attempt at the What Zone Are You In poster:

what zone are you in poster growth mindset

I’m not 100% happy with this.  The program I used to make the font curved added the shadows behind the font.  I like how the shadows look on the large print words, but I think the shadow makes “Comfort Zone” kinda hard to read.  I tried to take off the shadow, but I couldn’t figure it out.

what zone are you in poster growth mindset

I designed this to print as an 18″ x 24″ poster since that is the smallest size for Staples engineering prints.

Free Download of What Zone Are You In Poster

Zone Poster (PDF) (688 downloads )

Allen jeley

Sunday 17th of January 2016

Well post and this article tell us how to decorate your class and how to impress your teacher thanks for sharing personal statement writers .

Allen jeley

Sunday 17th of January 2016


Algebra's Friend

Saturday 23rd of August 2014

Thank you for the shout out! Your swimming analogy is so perfect! I look forward to finding out how my students rate themselves in the next few weeks!

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Saturday 13th of September 2014

This has been such a powerful tool to use with my students. Thanks for sharing the idea on your blog so I could steal it!


Saturday 23rd of August 2014

You may want to try the Silhouette Studio software. It's a free download even if you don't have a machine and you can do all sorts of fun text path stuff with it, then use dopdf to print it to a pdf. Here's what I did with it and the zones. in about 15 minutes (7 minutes of which was font choice)

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Saturday 13th of September 2014

Meg, I don't say this enough. You're AWESOME!

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