To help encourage conversations about staying present for the students as we finish the year, our topic/question of the week is: What would you say if a student asked you this question: "Can we do something fun today?"
Hopefully this past weekend was a good one for all. This time of year is busy, both in and out of school, and our weekend was full of activities - Maggie's softball Friday evening under the lights, attending the dedication of TT's Grotto at Camp Jewell on Saturday, and Owen's baseball and Gray's soccer games. On Sunday Katie and I enjoyed running the Friends of Holliston Trails Five Mile Run.
As I have shared one of my continued personal goals is to work towards a healthy 'balance' between school and home, taking the time to 'unplug'. With this in mind I am keeping the post brief this week, sharing a few posts that I found pertinent and timely for the Blake community at this time of year. As the natural inclination to start the 'countdown to summer' kicks in, I encourage everyone to fight that countdown, keeping our goals in mind (both for students and ourselves), staying present for students, and working towards that learning/growth mindset for all.
The Learning Pit: Fostering a Growth Mindset
by Peter DeWitt (@PeterMDewitt) in Education Week
I always enjoy reading DeWitt's blog posts, as he continually pushes me towards a deeper understanding of my core beliefs as an educator. In this post he references James Nottingham's concept of The Learning Pit - the notion that learning is hard and often involves the cycle of getting worse before it gets better. This month can be a challenge for all of us to concentrate and welcoming this cycle can potentially have a liberating and encouraging impact on learning/understanding.
"We need to find ways, even in this day and age of high accountability, to make sure that children (as well as adults) understand that learning is supposed to be a challenge from time to time. Yes, it's supposed to be fun and inspiring, but challenge is important as well."
"I've heard younger students say they jump into the pit and get dirty, try to claw their way out without the help of the teacher, and when they succeed it feels good. They understood that they took control over their own learning, even when it was hard. Just like the Ikea Effect, they found resilience and didn't shut down, so getting to the other side of the pit was gratifying."
"The reason why using the Learning Pit analogy is so important is that it gives students control over their own learning. They are not victims sitting at their desks waiting for teachers to give them the next lesson of "sit and get," or Death By Ditto. It's not about the script or the time on task. It's about moving forward and knowing where to go to next (Hattie). Learning, when done with the pit analogy involved, puts students in the driver's seat."
Summer Reading List: 5 Books on Professional Development
by Ross Cooper in Edutopia
Cooper's post is a quick read, but I believe it is worth 'bookmarking'. I like the idea of reading for different purposes - something fun, something practical, something research-based, something digital, and something connected. My summer reading list is just starting...
by Dan Kerr (@DanKerr1)
Kerr's message is one that motivates me to stay present and I will be marking this post as one worth reading and rereading each year in May/June.
"When I look back over the past year much of it seems like a blur, and I’m left feeling a little dizzy and overwhelmed, and a lot grateful and proud. We took on so much this year as a faculty and we deserve to take a few moments to revel in the positive changes that are transforming our community. That being said, the last few weeks of a school year can be tough…arguably the toughest of them all because of the fatigue that has begun to set in…because of the onslaught of emotions that comes along with saying goodbye to students and colleagues and friends, and because of all the culminating events that get packed into the last several days."
"I’d like to reiterate a challenge that I put out to my faculty at a previous school a couple of years ago, by asking you all to re-commit to our students, their learning, and to each other over the next three to four weeks, and to dig deep to finish what we started...It’s an exciting time of the year I know, and the kids are happy and smiling…we all have one eye focused on our summer adventures, and we can see the finish line on the horizon…I’m asking you however to not lose sight of the importance of what’s still left to do."
"For those of you moving on to new adventures, remember that you’re only ever as good as your last exit…….and for those of us returning, know that students remember the educators that we are in June…..so let’s make sure they remember the best of what we have to offer. The last few weeks are going to speed by everyone so please commit to making them count. Let’s all feel great about what we’ve accomplished so far this year…it’s been amazing…but we’re not done yet! Finish strong and wrap up the year with a beautiful bow"
This is an exciting time of year and I am looking forward to ending the 15-16 year on a strong with note with everyone. Here's to a strong finish with a present-minded, growth mindset for all!
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