Thursday, August 29, 2013

'Differentiation and Grit': An excerpt from "Fostering Grit" by Thomas R. Hoerr, his forthcoming short-format ASCD Arias publication.

How Do I Prepare My Students for the Real World?

This brief excerpt by Thomas R. Hoerr, describes differentiating not only for academic areas, but for teaching students "grit".  This can only be done at their emotional learning level, the cornerstone of ALL learning.  Hoerr states, "...teaching children how to respond to frustration and failure requires that they experience frustration and failure."

The goal here is to provide learning obstacles that give some level of frustration to the student.  Frustration and fear of failure often keep students away from these tasks.  This can be especially true of "bright" and/or "talented" students.  Their fear of inadequacy can be petrifying.  These tasks can be given through process, content, and/or product.  Then we offer them strategies to handle this frustration to get on to the next part of their current area of work.  As they build the strategies that work for them, so they too build grit.

How do WE respond to frustration and failure?  I believe this must be our first question before we teach grit to anyone else.  Beginning with a growth-mindset (Carol Dweck, Mindset), we can study our own reactions and how we can foster our own grit.  It takes courage.  We would want others to help us through it with care and empathetic responses.  Having been through that self-exploration, we can then offer that same feeling of care, empathy, and eventually trust to our students.  (Brene Brown, Daring Greatly)

Fostering grit is what our future workforce is looking for.  How we respond to frustration and failure is imperative to success and happiness (Daniel Pink, Drive).  It is how we grow both as humans and as a workforce.

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?  What's worth doing even if you do fail?  Isn't it worth a try?

'Differentiation and Grit': An excerpt from "Fostering Grit" by Thomas R. Hoerr, his forthcoming short-format ASCD Arias publication.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

About vulnerability...

So, during a book group discussion I was invited to this evening, we discussed being vulnerable and what that means.  We were discussing Brene Brown's Daring Greatly

As the new school year begins, how do we make ourselves vulnerable so that we can allow our students to do so as well.  Vulnerability relies on trust.  So we need to have our students trust us and our classroom community.  This is no small feat as we are all have the fear of looking inadequate. 

We need to jump in trusting that our students will allow us to be vulnerable as well.  As a third grade teacher, I find this might be easier than that of a middle school or high school teacher.  But that is just a guess.  Often it is the teacher personality and fear of judgement that will keep him/her at arm's length.

Another book club member suggested starting slowly. This seems like good advice, especially to those of us who jump in with both feet often before checking the water.  However, we agreed that we need to be honest.  Kids know when our stories hold even a grain of falsehood. 

So, dare greatly this first week of school.  Let your students see you... even the part that is not in control all of the time and even makes mistakes occasionally!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Why Common Core? Politics, as usual...

You can decide for yourself, but this is just another way to quantify schools for political purposes.  It's been called different names over different decades, yet the end result, always the same; new name, new test, same ole politics.
How Common Core Standards will succeed — even if they don’t

Common Core... K-3 input anyone, anyone...?

"In all, there were 135 people on those panels. Not a single one of them was a K-3 classroom teacher or early childhood professional."

A tough critique of Common Core on early childhood education