Monday, October 26, 2015

Keep on reeling!

Principal ponderings...

When I was in kindergarten or first grade, I asked my dad what the 'crack of dawn' meant.  Somehow that phrase had come up in conversation, and I was curious about it.  Of course, my dad being my dad did not tell me what it meant, he simply said that he would show me.  But he said I would have to wait until a different day before he could show me.  A few days later, my dad came and woke me up.  It seemed like it was the middle of the night.  It was still dark outside.  He had me dress in layers, packed us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and loaded fishing gear into the car.  As we waved goodbye to my mom and pulled out of the driveway, I asked him where we were going.  He said, "Didn't you want to learn about what the 'crack of dawn' meant?"  We stopped off at a convenience store to buy some worms, and then drove to a little pond tucked away from the world.  It was still dark as we began to walk down a windy dirt path with our flashlights and fishing poles.  When we got to the water, the sun was just beginning to show itself.  My dad said with a smile, "That is the crack of dawn."

I was reminded of this story when I came across this video clip of a different little girl fishing with her dad:
In this two minute clip, we see some amazing things going on, besides just the fact that she caught a big fish.  When she first starts realizing that she has a fish on the end of her Barbie pole, she is excited and immediately starts asking her dad for help.  The great thing is...he doesn't jump in and help or take the pole away and do it for her.  He tells her, "Keep on reeling!"  So she does exactly that.  She doesn't give up.  And then as she gets more and more excited about what she is doing, realizing that she is about to land a big fish, she turns to her dad and asks, "Are you making a video?"  When she realizes she is being filmed, she gets distracted from her task and even starts to get a little silly.  Again, does dad take the pole from her and take over the tough job of reeling the fish in?  No, he says again, "Keep reeling!"  And then she does it!  She is so excited that she was able to reel in a fish that is 20 inches long!  Dad asks her, "What do you think?"  And you can see her jumping for joy and cheering, "I got one finally!"  She is so proud of her accomplishment.  It took a lot of work, it was difficult, she struggled, and she did it on her own.

We can learn a lot from this little girl and her father.  This video clip certainly made me think of growth mindset.  We have lots of kids fishing in our school.  We give them the pole.  We guide them to the fish.  But we have to make sure that we are stepping back and encouraging them to "keep on reeling."  They are going to struggle.  They are going to say it's too hard.  They are going to ask for help.  But we need to let them experience the joy and excitement that comes with accomplishing those difficult tasks on their own.

That morning that my dad taught me about "the crack of dawn," he also showed me how to put a worm on a hook.  Once he demonstrated for me how to do it, he let me practice doing it.  I am sure I got frustrated at times and handed the worm and hook back to him, but he kept encouraging me to do it on my own.  It did not take long before I was able to set the hook up on my own.  I was proud of the fact that I could do it all by myself.  I needed my teacher, but I didn't need my teacher to do it for me.

Think about your students.  Are you encouraging them to "keep on reeling?"  When they are saying it's too hard or I need help...stop and remember that they can do it...they can catch that big fish.  And then you will be there to jump for joy with them!

Here's a short video clip with some great visuals related to growth mindset:

Currently reading:
I finally finished up The Wishing Spell, one of the MCBA books.  Took me a long time, but it was a good story, always like the fairy tale twist books.  There are several more in the series, but I am thinking I will take a break before I jump into another one in the series.
I am just starting another MCBA book by an author that lives in our state, Patricia MacLachlan.  I have enjoyed some of her other books, so I hope that I will enjoy Fly Away.  
I have been trying to lower the height of my to-be-read pile which is next to bed.  One of the books on that pile that I picked up to read this week is The Secret Chicken Society.  It seems like a funny book that will be a quick read.
And in preparation for a presentation that I will be giving to other principals in the area, I have been reading different sections of Digital Leadership.
Events this week:
Monday - Latin after school @ 3:30, Mandarin Chinese @ 3:30
Tuesday - Dianna out of district for the day, School Council Meeting @ 3:30
Wednesday - Liz out of district for the day, Grade 4 chorus practice @ 2:25
Thursday - Curriculum half day, dismissal at 12:15, Spirit Day! Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character!

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Mrs. Wilkins's class was eager to share their fall sensory writing with me.  I loved this one that talked about "eggcorns."  Have you seen 'eggcorns on your fall walks?!
  • Mrs. Bukowksi was leading a Scholastic News discussion with Mrs. Lanctot's class.
  • I stopped by in the hallway to read Mr. Coronis's writing display.  Check them out...but here's a warning...your stomach might be growling after you're done since they are all about snack food!
  • Mrs. Fournier's class was busy doing independent reading when I popped in.  Check out their display.  The class challenged themselves to read 80 books during the month, and they are currently at 65+!  Way to go readers!

Check it out:
A kindergarten teacher's post about growth mindset.
Here is a really cool video about our amazing brains!...

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