Monday, September 26, 2016

Gonna Keep Running, Even Though It Hurts

Principal ponderings...

On Saturday, I pushed myself to run a 5K.  (And I also pushed a stroller!)  It's been over 2 years since I have run one.  The way I finished it was I ran a mile, walked for a few minutes, ran another mile, walked a little bit, ran some more.  It was great to see so many people doing the race, especially so many kids.  When we were about halfway, I was next to a group of girls, maybe 9 or 10 years old.  The one girl was walking and saying she couldn't do it.  The other girl was encouraging her and saying come on you can do it.  Finally, the girl said, "I'm gonna keep running, even though it hurts."  I heard what she said and I repeated it to myself.  I was going to keep running, even though it hurt!

And then as I got to the end, could see the finish line in the distance, Nancy Taylor came running back to run in to the finish with me and encourage me.  She offered to push the stroller for me, but of course I was stubborn, and I insisted on finishing the race the way I started, pushing that darn stroller.

 I did it.  It wasn't pretty and it certainly wasn't fast, but I did it.  I finished the race.  Last year I walked.  This year I ran.  So why I am I telling you this story?  How can this tie into your classroom this week?  For one thing, I just love that the little girl demonstrated resilience during that race.  Talk about an important skill that we want all of our students to have.  The race.  The school day.  Learning.  Problem solving.  These things can be hard.  Kids will sometimes want to give up.  When it gets hard, the first response is "I can't."  Sometimes they give that response before they have even tried.  So how do we help all students to keep running?  How do we teach them to be resilient, to not give up?  It starts with having the conversations with students about not giving up.  Share your own person stories of having trouble, of not understanding something, of wanting to give up.  Sometimes it means taking a step back and giving them a chance to struggle through and figure out that if they keep going, they will get it.

I also share this story for all of you to think about the concept of when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  We are almost through the first month of school.  Sometimes this is when everything gets a little bit harder.  Your class has been spending time adjusting to the new dynamic.  They have been forming their new community with you.  Now the challenge is keeping the beginning of the year momentum going.  The learning will get harder.  The social interactions will hit bumps in the road.  You yourself will get tired or run down.  But we all have to remember to keep running.  We will have bad days.  We will have lessons that don't go the way we want.  We will want to say, "I can't."  But I want to remind you to keep running.  You can do it.  Your students can do it.  Sometimes we might need a pep talk or a running partner.  Be on the lookout for your colleagues.  If you see that they need support, offer it.  If you need support, ask for it.

The school year is a marathon, not a sprint.  We need to all remember to keep running.  How will you teach this to your students?  Or how will you utilize this mindset for yourself?

Currently reading:
I got some great new picture books in the mail this week!  One of my favorites  that I can't wait to read in classrooms is called School's First Day of School.  It is the school telling his perspective on students coming into school.
I also got 3 books that are all by the same author.  The books are rhyming books and focus on kids being scientists, builders, etc.  One of this is called Rosie Revere, Engineer and has a great focus on growth mindset!  
I also got a new professional development book that I am reading and then writing a book review about it.  It's called When School Policies Backfire: How Well-Intended Measures can Harm our Most Vulnerable Students.  Should be interesting!

Events this week:
**Book Fair in the library all week!!
Tuesday - Optional refresher session with Karen Tuomi about lockdown drills, 8:30 in the staff room
Thursday - Liz and Luke at DESE Advisory Cabinet meeting all day in Devens, 4th grade Rock Detectives Enrichment program, Family Book Fair event, 6:00-8:00pm
Friday - Dianna and Liz at Prescott for SLT meeting until 11:30

Great things I noticed last week:
  • Heard some 1st graders explaining the addition sentences they were writing on whiteboards.
  • I caught some other 1st graders taking a close look and doing some scientific observations of their ladybugs that were moving into the pupa stage.
  • I found some second grade classrooms coming together to experiment with fulcrums and balance. 
  • I had fun eating lunch with 1st graders all week! 
  • Caught lots of 4th graders getting comfortable and engrossed in books during independent reading. 
  • The book fair is coming!!!
  • SPARK assemblies at each grade level...we focused on 'S' for safety!
  • We had so much fun running and walking Saturday morning at the Joseph Middlemiss Superhero RocknRoll 5K!  It was awesome to see Kelly and her family out in full force running and remembering Michael...loved the shirts Kelly!

Check it out:
And just to put a smile on your face today...

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