To help encourage conversations and dialogue about the benefits of ‘taking a break’, our topic/question for the dinner table is: How does ‘taking a break’ help with the process of learning? Taking a Break (Week of 11/10/19) (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.
Hopefully our ‘No Homework Weekend’ was one that was ‘lived’ by all, allowing for some quiet, reflection, and time to recharge - whatever that may look like! We took some time to do just that - after an ‘over and back’ to the Berkshires on Saturday, we did some gardening, leaf pick up, and enjoyed the break. I want to once again express my sincere thanks to our entire staff for embracing and supporting these efforts - thank you!
Topic/Question (Week of 11/3/19): What process do you use to make decisions?
- I am guided by this question: How will this impact the children?
- I review what is going on in the past, ask students what is working for them in the art environment, continually try out their interests, my own interests, and pray that I can make better decisions.
- I try to think of a few different variables and perspectives to help ensure the decision is a good one. Sometimes time does not permit, but putting myself in the shoes of those affected by the decision is helpful.
- I consult my wife. She's a lot smarter than me.
- What do I truly want to do and if my parents were making the decision what would they say
- I do a lot of stop and thinking and brainstorming
- Sometimes I think before I act. Other times I think does this fit into the conversation. I also think if this will hurt anybody.
- Weigh the pros and cons and then, inevitably follow my heart/gut.
- I think it out and do what makes sense
- I have learned to slow myself down. I ask people who are very different from me what they would choose to do.
- Depending on the decision I will ask my peers for more than one opinion on the topic.
- Process of elimination
Yes, it’s good to stick with an activity. But there is also value in walking away.
by Kirsten Clodfelter in The Washington Post
Clodfelter’s post aligns with the idea of taking different perspectives, as she provides a healthy alternative to some of the mantras we inherit, embrace, and pass along to our children (all with good intentions). As one who believes in staying with commitments and ‘working things through’, I appreciate the message that it is important to step back, ask some more questions, listen to the answers, and focus on developing healthy paths.
My entire life, I’ve heard “Finish what you start” touted as a critical maxim for kids. After all, sticking with something when it’s difficult or uncomfortable can teach perseverance, discipline and confidence — all important skills to carry with us into adulthood. But watching through the observation window as my first-grader seemed to drag herself into each ballet position, I started to question how much sense that blanket advice made. Is it really in our kids’ best interest, or even practical, to see every commitment through to its bitter end? What if there are different but equally valuable qualities to be gained by learning to let go of the things that aren’t right for us?
Quitting carries plenty of stigma, even for adults, and figuring out when it’s the best choice for our kids is often nuanced and complex. Outside of extreme circumstances such as bullying or abuse, Eric Bean, a sports psychology consultant, says “quitting is never really a black-and-white issue.” The decision can feel especially fraught when a child wants to leave a sport or activity they’ve shown a talent for or that they’ve previously enjoyed.
As an adult, I’m inundated with messaging about the energizing, door-opening power of saying yes, but what about saying no? The ability to recognize when an activity isn’t an appropriate investment of our time or energy is a fundamental skill, and it’s one that extends beyond youth sports or extracurriculars. As my daughters get older, I want them to feel confident that they can exit a degree path or a job or a relationship that’s no longer meeting their needs. They shouldn’t feel beholden by the fact that simply because they’ve started something, they’re obligated to finish it at any cost.
...we should make room for our kids’ interests and passions to evolve, even if the result is they end up walking away from an activity they — or we — thought would be a big part of their lives. After all, if what we want is for our children to be happy and fulfilled, we have to give them space to decide what that looks like. Quitting means they’re clearing a path to love something else — and that’s a good thing.
As I look to the busyness that inevitably awaits us in the holiday season, I hope to lean on these perspectives and remember the value of taking a step back and resting. It’s not easy for me and I hope others can help me along the way.