Monday, October 10, 2016

Embrace Students' Strengths NOT Their Weaknesses

Excellence in Education: Embrace Students’ Strengths NOT Weaknesses
The other day I joked with Mr. Flaherty about switching positions for the morning. I concluded, “Math wasn’t my thing. It wouldn’t be fair to your students [for me to teach geometry or AP Calculus].”

As I stood on duty, I reflected back on the conversation. In our current system, we often force students to take classes they have little or no interest in; that’s not something we can yet change.

None of us like having our weaknesses emphasized. When they are, we often become discouraged and frustrated. We’re embarrassed. It leads to negative thinking and a fixed mindset.

So how can we best meet this challenge?

Embrace your students’ strengths. Get to know your students’ talents and interests. Use this information to differentiate, specialize and engage your students.

Provide students with choices. Create activities and assignments that provide  many options for demonstrating understanding.

Be specific with your feedback. Feedback should focus on student actions that they control.  Don’t focus on the negatives and uncontrollables.

Seek feedback. Asking students, “How would you improve this lesson?” will help you better understand your students and create better lessons. As a bonus--or perhaps more importantly--it shows students you’re willing to learn, adapt and you care.

Focus on student progress. The student in a Skills English class, doesn’t want to be there. She doesn’t like being a poor reader. A big, red 56% on a returned test is not going to motivate most students in that situation to try harder on the next test. Instead provide the student with an opportunity to retest, with the prerequisite reteaching, so she can see her progress. Even more importantly, use pre-assessments so students can monitor their progress from the beginning to the end.

Keep the bar high. Students sense when we set low expectations, whether it’s academically or behaviorally. Similarly, they know when we believe in them and hold them accountable for their actions and efforts.

When we do the above, our students will surprise us. When we provide students with opportunities to experience success, our students will rise to the challenge.    

Shout Outs:
Although the rain prevented our Friday tailgate, thanks to Ms. Rocco and Mr. DeFrank for organizing and grilling, respectively.  

Thanks as well to Mr. Jones, Ms. Kroese, Mr. Dove, Ms. Dudley, and Ms. McCaskill for attending the Scottsville Community event on Friday.

Great weekends for Monticello’s Band and AVID.  
Need to Knows:

Tech Thursday in the Green Room with Bert: This week Dart Service Desk and Student Help Desk

Portfolio Assistance If you have a student who needs assistance setting up his/her portfolio, click here

Technology / Website Permission Request Form Please use this form to request use of a website that requires student log-in if the site is not already on the approved list.

Calendar Items
A-B-A-B-A Week

Community Bond Referendum Forum Tuesday, October 11 @ 6pm

Parent-Teacher Conferences: Thursday, October 20

Employee Flu Clinic October 11, 12-4:30

Fall Music Concert October 13

Underclassmen Picture Retakes: October 17

Fall Senior Meeting October 19 during Mustang Morning

October 10: Samantha Presley, Mike Remchuk
October 12: Jo Ann Harris
October 16: Garry Gibson

Worth Your Time

Fostering Relationships in the Classroom (Embracing Many of us do these things at the beginning of the year, so I challenge you to think about how we can do these throughout the year)

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