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Welcome to Room 208!

", then crawl, but by all means, keep moving.” "

“If you can’t fly, then run.  If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but by all means, keep moving.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Welcome to Room 208!

This year we will embark on an incredible journey together! Through literature and writing, we will explore new worlds, travel to unexpected locations, and meet some unforgettable characters! This journey will include short stories, poetry, and novels, as well as non-fiction writing. Hopefully, we will find something that everyone enjoys reading and writing. 

In addition to exploring the written word, we will also learn about the importance of social-emotional wellness.  Specifically, we will stress Sixteen Habits of Success that are vital to a well-rounded and rewarding life. Every two weeks, I will highlight one of these Sixteen Habits of Success. They include

     – RESILIENCE

     – GROWTH MINDSET

     – PURPOSE

​     – CURIOSITY

​     –  SELF-DIRECTION

​     –  STRESS-MANAGEMENT

​     –  SELF-REGULATION

​     –  ACADEMIC TENACITY

​     –  AGENCY

​     –  SELF-EFFICACY

​     –  SENSE OF BELONGING 

​     –  RELEVANCE OF SCHOOL

​     –  EXECUTIVE FUNCTION

​     –  EMPATHY

​     –  SELF-AWARENESS

​     –  ATTACHMENT

Week 1: Resilience

The first habit I want to talk to you about is resilience. Merriam-Webster defines resilience as "an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change" (www.merriam-webster.com/ dictionary/resilience). In scientific terms, it is the ability of a substance to spring back into shape.  Resilience is the notion of jumping back up when life knocks you down, dusting yourself off, and trying again.  Resilience ties in very closely with one of our Eagle P.R.I.D.E. traits, perseverance--a continued effort to do or strive to achieve something despite hardships or failures.  When we add a third characteristic into the mix, passion (an interest or enthusiasm for something), we can see students start to build a truly remarkable quality--GRIT

 

Grit is passion and perseverance to stick with a long-term goal to see it through to completion. It is having the resilience to overcome the obstacles that might convince someone else to give up.  It is sticking with it when the going gets tough!  Grit (resilience + passion+ perseverance) can help students to overcome difficulties in the classroom as well as outside of school (on the ballfield, in their careers, in their personal lives, etc.).  Take a look at these example of grit. 

Arthur Boorman, a disabled Gulf War veteran, was told he would never walk unassisted again. 
 
Bethany Hamilton, a profession surfer, was attacked by a shark at the age of 13 and lost her left arm.  She returned to surfing only a month later.
Bethany Hamilton, a profession surfer, was attacked by a shark at the age of 13 and lost her left arm. She returned to surfing only a month later.
Miles Taylor, who was born with cerebral palsy, inspired thousands with videos of his weight lifting endeavors, encouraging others to never give up.
Miles Taylor, who was born with cerebral palsy, inspired thousands with videos of his weight lifting endeavors, encouraging others to never give up.
Malcom Mitchell is a successful author & NFL wide receiver. Once barely able to read, he considers his literacy his greatest success.
Malcom Mitchell is a successful author & NFL wide receiver. Once barely able to read, he considers his literacy his greatest success.

 

So what can we, as parents and educators, do to help our students develop resilience and grit? Here are some tips for encouraging grit in your children at home, followed by some things we will be doing here at school to foster resilience and grit.

Ways You Can Develop GRIT At Home: 

  • Let your child find a passion: If children are allowed to find and pursue an interest that they have chosen for themselves (as opposed to one chosen for them), they will be more motivated to develop the resilience and perseverance that they need to succeed. 
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  • Let them get frustrated: It is okay for your child to struggle.  Taking risks, struggling, and overcoming is how children learn. As parents, we often want to make things easy for our children, but this can actually hold them back instead of helping them to thrive. Sit back and give them a chance to figure it out.  However, it is still important to keep an eye on your child's anxiety and frustration level and step in if you feel they are truly getting overwhelmed.
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  • Model a growth mindset: A growth mindset (which is another of the Sixteen Habits of Success) is the idea that hard work is part of a process and that failure is not permanent.  When children hear parents think positively about making mistakes, they realize that mistakes are part of the learning process.  As Henry Ford famously said, "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently".
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  • Discuss effort as well as accomplishments: Too often students see the end result, but not the hard work that was necessary to achieve that task.  Discuss long-term goals and short-term goals and how you achieve both.  Encourage a conversation among family members about their personal struggles and how they got past them. Celebrate when someone in the family overcomes an obstacle and succeeds in a difficult task.
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*For more about how to encourage grit at home, read "How (and Why) to Teach Kids to Have More Grit".

Ways We Will Develop GRIT At School: 

  • Brainstorm solutions together: When your child has failed--rather it is at an assessment, a project, etc.--we will help your child come up with a plan to improve and do better the next time.  We will encourage resilience in your child and help them to make mindful decisions about new strategies or tactics they can try for the next project, the next assessment, or the next checkpoint revision.
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  • Learn to set goals: Students will learn to set both short-term and long-term goals in class this year.  They will also learn to analyze their goal plan to see either what helped them succeed OR what got in the way of their success so they know what resources can be helpful as well as what obstacles can be a distraction or a roadblock to their success. 
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  • Explore students' interests: We will learn what interests the students are passionate about and work these interests into our writing projects whenever we can.  Students will have the opportunity to complete a genius hour project in which they research and explore their passions further. 
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  • Encourage a growth mindset through assessments: In tradition classrooms, all students took the test on a day determined by the teacher and everyone moved on to the next chapter or lesson together, regardless of if they passed or failed.  This year, we will encourage mastery of content and a growth mindset by allowing students to attempt a content assessment when he/she feels they are ready. The student must receive a score equivalent to 80% to pass the assessment.  If they do not pass, the student and teacher will develop a study plan together, based on which objectives the student needs to work on. Learning from mistakes, trying again, and attempting until mastery will help to foster grit in the classroom.