February 4, 2016

Perseverance & Resilience

The stage was set. The challenge was given. I could hardly wait to watch my students tackle their engineering challenge to kick off our study of motion. "They are going to be amazing!" I thought, "They will grow and stretch and be motivated by their learning and hard work. In fact, I bet some of them will be so inspired by my teaching methods that they will grow up to be Scientists!"

And then....

And then!

They crumbled. The met the challenge with excitement. And then it met them and they turned into precious little balls of helplessness and crushed self esteem. All within five minutes.

Ok, I may be exaggerating, but just know that there were more than a couple of kids for whom this was true. They were a little crushed. And I was a little crushed, too!

So it made me ask myself some questions:
How exactly can I better teach and instill perseverance and resilience in my students?
What have I done in the past to encourage helplessness. Furthermore, how can I change that as we move forward?

So I picked 2 things to try for next time:

1. To Teach: I decided to go back to our school-wide Habits of Scholarship: Craftsmanship, Perseverance, and Collaboration. We spent some morning meetings using our dictionary, thesaurus, and base words skills to develop stronger definitions and examples of these. It was really important for us to take a step back, slow down, and work on making these words a bigger part of the culture in our classroom.

2. To Change: I have got to stop "spinning plates" during my more challenging assignments. Do you know what I mean? When you can't get to conferencing, listening in, and facilitating because you are answering questions, putting out fires, and restating instructions 20 million times? So, this week we started with writing. We instituted a "Quiet 10" time at the beginning of Writing Workshop where students and I are to be writing with no talking. Students are told to be writers and problem solvers. So far they are doing a great job! This is just one first step to improving the independence and "stick-with-it-ness" for the class!

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