To help encourage conversations and dialogue about learning and sharing with others in your own learning process, our topic/question of the week is: What have you learned recently that you would like to know more about and share with others? Sharing and Learning (Week of 3/24/19) (This is an anonymous Google Form)
Blake's Guiding Lights
Blake's Core Values: Respect, Responsibility, Resourcefulness, Reflection
Our Essential Question: How can we cultivate and curate the progression of student learning and growth?
Our Mission: Blake Middle School believes in a living mission statement, based on the concept that our community seeks and respects knowledge, integrity, character, wisdom, and the willingness to adapt to a continually evolving world.
Last Friday’s 5-Town Special Olympics (this year hosted by Holliston High School) was a wonderful way to end the week. It is always one of my favorite days of the year as it really does embody a sense of community on many levels. In many ways it had felt like a long week, and the event really brought forth a new energy (a vitamin, if you will!) that was much needed for me. Katie had her second session of yoga teacher training this weekend, so the kids and I had a relatively quiet one - watching some March Madness, a couple sports commitments, and some initial spring cleaning in the yard.
Brevity is one form of simplicity (not always my strength - at least in writing!), and in an effort to ‘keep it simple’, I am sharing a couple of posts that I read this week that piqued my interest and wanted me to go deeper and learn some more. That is at the heart of what I hope we can do for our students each and every day and, as noted above, for one another. They are not tied to any particular theme - that is, except for theme of continued conversations. Along with the responses to last week’s Topic/Question, I hope they foster dialogue and conversation...
Frustrated at Work? That Might Just Lead to Your Next Breakthrough
by Adam Grant (@AdamMGrant) in The New York Times
I always enjoy Grant’s work and the title grabbed my attention right away. There are some key take-aways within - using frustration as a ‘source of creative fuel’ and creativity and growth need support and commitment from and with others.
...When we’re dissatisfied, instead of fight or flight, sometimes we invent. Frustration is the feeling of being blocked from a goal. Although it sounds like a destructive emotion, it can actually be a source of creative fuel. When we’re frustrated, we reject the status quo, question the way things have always been done, and search for new and improved methods. But there’s evidence that dissatisfaction only promotes creativity when people feel committed to their team and have the support they need to pursue their ideas.
People tend to be surprisingly drawn to difficult goals. Decades of research show that extremely difficult, specific goals motivate us to work harder and smarter — again, as long as we’re committed and supported. Most of us prefer a task with a 50-50 shot of success over an easier one.
On the list of special places, one place is always forgotten.
by Luke Reynolds in The Hartford Courant
Garland Kincaid sent this post to me earlier this week and it was one that I have come back to a few times. This brief post is based on the exercise of asking others this simple question: What is a place from your past that has special significance for you? The common ‘missing response’ of ‘School’ is one that is worthy of significant reflection, conversations, and exploration.
So the tragic question is this: Why does school never make the list as a special place? Why don’t we remember our fifth-grade classroom as fondly as we remember our kitchen, or any other place we have spent a lot of our time?
After their shock wears off, my soon-to-be-teachers are ready with an array of ideas: school made us feel less curious; school made us feel scared; school made us feel judged; we didn’t get to show who we really were; we had to be quiet all the time; we had to sit all the time; we had to deal with immense pressure to get as many points as we could to get the highest grades we could. In other words, for many students growing up through our American school system, obedience was crucial. Creativity and experience? Not so much.
Here are a few practical possibilities for us to honestly consider implementing:
- Smaller class sizes
- More experiences; more relationships
- More joy, less conformity
Topic/Question of the Week (Week of 3/18/19): What action can you take today or this week to improve the learning environment at Blake? Be specific.
- I can work on being a better listener.
- Work on not complaining about little things like homework or tests, and just get it done. Try not complaining for 24 hours.
- Spread positivity, everything should be exciting and people should be excited to learn, certain topics aren’t fun and we could find ways to make them fun.
- Clean the trash off the ground
- Be nice to everyone I meet, you never know what kind of day they are having.
- My big interest ...and good for students too...would be to relax...do not get stressed out over things...relax...students will fall into step and pace when they are ready...not when I’m ready ...keep things organized...students need to have clear organization/structure...it helps so we don't get stressed out.
- I can begin and end each day with a question.
- Be kind, helpful, and always gentle to everyone.
- Being positive and enthusiastic toward peers.
- Not be distracting to others and helping others learn.
- I can see if anyone is struggling and help them.
- Be more enthusiastic
With Women’s History Month (March) ending this week, I wanted to share some more words to honor the month - this week’s come from Oprah Winfrey and Marie Curie...