Saturday, January 4, 2014

Gettin' Gritty

  A Very Happy New Year Wish

People often say that motivation doesn't last
Well neither does bathing.
That's why we recommend it daily.

Zig Ziglar
Used under Creative Commons

               2014! Double yikes! I had planned for a very different blog this week, but stuff happens. At the moment I am in the process of finishing up my research guide I will be selling on TPT.  I referred to it before Christmas. The research unit (book--120+ pages) will be awesome!! At this moment I am really only a week or so behind schedule (Not too bad considering my history with pitifully poor under-estimated time frames). It will be finished sometime this next week.

               Sandwiched between mid-December and now, my husband and I couldn't have celebrated the holidays any better: We decorated, shopped, visited family and friends, and of course ate (and ate)! I hope your holiday experience was festive, fun, and brought you a reconnection to what matters most--family and faith. I also hope as you think about switching your life back into teaching you feel renewed and ready.

                Over break, I read two great books (technically 1 1/2) . . .still reading this one:)

Finished Outliers in two fact, it continues to haunt my thinking. It's been out for quite some time and on my reading list for a couple of years. Both books are inspiring and perfect for thinking about building grit and perseverance in our students. We have no alternative. We must.

               So back in August I wrote about grit and created a Grit/Perseverance Pinterest board
I have pondered how to foster grit in the classroom while working on this research unit. I couldn't help but reflect back on students who had or would have difficulties with such an extended unit of study. We all know that Common Core places heavy emphasis on the 3 Informational R's:  Reading, writing, and research. Many have suggested teaching a quantity of short research units rather than the traditional "big one in the spring." While I agree with this 100%, I believe students need to experience one extended project each year--if for no other reason than to build stamina and perseverance. Building stamina and grit is a thread I have woven throughout my research unit. It excites the heck out of me because the time has come to translate this theory into our classrooms. Now.

               Next week Saturday Morning features a guest blogger who is an expert on Instructional Rounds. I know the information will be interesting. In the following weeks, expect blogs on text complexity, always more on Close Reading, how the teaching of the Arts support Common Core, math, and so much more. 

Resources to get you excited

An Interview from Educational World featuring Carol Dweck. "How to Get Your Students Motivated"  Although the article dates back a ways, the message is for RIGHT NOW. (I have some of her more current work on my grit Pinterest board.

Chris Lehman's video addresses the "Two Roads Taken" approach to Common Core, the value of CCSS "aligned" materials (to include favorite exemplars currently found on the Internet), and the plea for teachers to place their students' needs above current initiatives. While an hour in length, you can listen to it while doing something laundry or cleaning. The info is important.

               Back to work on my unit.  If you are teaching grit and perseverance in your classroom, please share your stories with us. If you don't want to leave your idea in the comments section, email me at Enjoy your weekend and have a great Saturday.

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