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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

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Enthusiasm is building about 'growth mindset' and how it helps students persevere and stay open to new challenges.  In line with this, understanding the 'fixed mindset' can also help us find new ways to help students push through their fears of failure and inadequacy.  

What's a fixed mindset?

A person with a fixed mindset believes that ability and intelligence are things we're born with or not, and there's not much we can do to change the 'fixed amount' we are born with. 

Why should you care?

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Plan

This afternoon we took the grandsons to a playground. It's a lovely playground, one of many, many lovely playgrounds available in Seattle. Here's a look at just some of the cool playground stuff available there.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And here is how my oldest grandson spent a good chunk of his time.
It's a well-flogged truism that children will throw away the toy and play with the box, that they will reject the finest plastic construction that the toy industry can muster in order to play with ordinary household objects. I suppose that somebody could have forced my grandson to drop the stick and play "properly" but why, unless they were intent on imposing adult will and plans on a child. "I planned on you playing on that jungle gym over there. Now put down that stick and go have fun, dammit, or else."
 
The bottom line is that children have instincts and interests and involvement of their own. Adults can go nuts trying to direct that, and they can twist children's brains up by hammering them withy messages about what they are "supposed" to do. 
 
It is certainly true that there is room for adult direction and guidance. My grandson played with some of the equipment and played with his father, who did not try to tell my grandson what to do, but joined wholeheartedly in helping my grandson tap into his transcendent joy over swinging.
 
 
But if you go to the playground armed with an adult agenda that allows no room for the voice of the children, you are on the wrong path. The damage is evident by the time students land in my eleventh grade classroom and have trouble writing well because they are more concerned about what they are supposed to write-- what they are supposed to do to meet the requirements of the grown-ups' agenda-- instead of tying to get in touch withy what they actually think.
 
It is easy as parents or teachers to get caught up in the desire to see the tiny humans make the safest, wisest, best decisions. But that process has to include their own voice, their own aims, their own intentions and inclinations. That's not just how you honor their existent as thinking, feeling, sentient, individual human beings-- it's how you create future entrepreneurs, leaders, creators, makers, employees, employers, and people who are not inclined to elect raging tyrants out of desire to have "strong" leaders who will tell them just what they are supposed to do.
 
Yes, the world needs a certain amount of order and sense, and I am not advocating unleashing wild anarchic chaos on the universe (not today, anyway). But attempting to impose adult best-laid plans on every minute of children's lives is both evil and foolish. Evil, because every human's voice is a precious thing no matter how young. Foolish because-- well, I will give my grandson the last word with his ideas about how to use carrot slices.
 
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Posted by on in Education Policy

 No harrassment

Hands Off! Title IX

Keep your hands to yourself, the first rule we teach our preschoolers is a good start.  Manners and appropriate behavior have to start somewhere.

I read a shocking article about Title IX I couldn’t wait to share, not another minute. This is a shorter post than usual, as the author really puts it together for us.

As a Principal and when I taught school administration, the first tenet was to ensure a safe and orderly environment. “Duty to Protect” was clearly stated in the California Education Code and I took it seriously.

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Posted by on in Professional Development

Earlier this year I connected with other educators who like to blog. We came together over #sunchat, a Twitter-based Sunday morning chat. We called ourselves the #Sunchatbloggers! We provide each other with feedback and encouragement. Someone in the group suggested we all post on the same topic: our “Top 5”.  Some people will post about strategies, others activities, others technologies—I’ve decided to focus on “needs”. 

What are my 5 “essentials” for effective teaching? What do I need to teach?

After much reflection, I’ve identified my 5 teaching must-haves:

Trust

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Sometimes, when in a room full of young children every day, it becomes easy to start comparing them with each other and focusing on the things some children don’t do as well as others. Or, the children start to appear as a group, as they interact with the environment. Seeing the unique, individuality of children becomes blurred. This is a road we don’t want to go down. Early childhood educators must stay focused on each child’s strengths and make a point to support them.

All children have natural inclinations and innate talents, but no child possesses the same ones They are all one of a kind- actually one of about 7.5 billion! If we refocus on each child’s strengths, we help children to be successful… not only for today but also throughout their lives.

Here are a few ways to change over to a new and improved mindset:

mother and child talking

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