Sunday, June 4, 2017

Causing a Student to Struggle

Excellence in Education: Causing a Student to Struggle
Causing a student to struggle sounds counter-intuitive; maybe even unethical or malfeasant.

It’s not. For that reason, I’ve enjoyed watching several math and science teachers challenge their students to solve a problem without providing much direction.
Research shows that when humans are asked to solve a problem before being shown how to solve it, the subsequent solution is better learned and more likely to be remembered. It primes the brain for learning and the struggle makes learning more permanent (see Daniel Willingham’s Why Students Don’t Like School or Make it Stick by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger, and Mark McDaniel).

Making mistakes are opportunities for learning and should be treated as such. We must be careful in how we provide feedback. Are we attaching a grade to practice? Are we too quick to give correct and give answers? How do we allow students to struggle? Do we help students believe they are capable of success? We should strive to create a culture where mistakes are valued.

In a study by Gabriele Steur, she and her fellow researchers discovered that when students perceived their classrooms as mistake-friendly, they increased their effort in their work.

Before you scoff at this, please understand that this is brain-based science at its best. When we make a mistake, brain synapses fire. And here’s the catch, we don’t even have to be aware that we’ve made the mistake for the synapses to fire!

How can we inspire mistakes and learning:
  1. Open up your questions. Instead of asking short, closed, right/wrong questions, create questions that require deeper understanding.
  2. Ask How do you think (insert historical figure, event, or scenario) type of questions
  3. Have students make corrections to something they haven’t yet learned

Useful Links:
Friday Activity Calendar (Mentorship/Portfolio/Club Day) : No activity this Friday (Pep Rally)

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. DART approved list

Calendar and Memo Items
Naviance Required Activity

On Tuesday all students will be required to complete various activities in Naviance. The activity should begin at 10:10 and will conclude at 11:05. Mustang Morning is canceled for Tuesday.

Prior to the required time:
  1. Look over the PowerPoint link and post it on your board
  2. Familiarize yourself with the PowerPoint, especially slide 3. Students will only see value in this activity if you see value in it and you “sell it.”
  3. Be able to
    1. Explain the value and importance of Naviance--for more information, please visit
    2. Tell students what activities they are responsible for completing (slide 4). If you teach a mixed grade class, you may also want to post this information separately in advance
  4. Remind students that we are completing this activity and they will need their computers

On Tuesday during the activity
  1. Explain to students the activity and its purpose
  2. Guide students through the process
  3. Check to see if students have completed the required activities (see PowerPoint for visuals)
  4. Once completed, you are still responsible for your students. Many classes will finish before 11:05, so you are free to continue instruction. Please do not allow completed students to leave your classrooms except for legitimate purposes; students should not be permitted to go to other classrooms.
From the original email
Naviance is a robust college and career readiness program that helps students identify their strengths and interests and to help them plan for their post-secondary goals. It also has other assorted tools that make the college application process easier for students and educators alike.
More Naviance info
·         This is a county requirement.
·         The activities were to be completed in Mentorship. The low completion rate is not merely attributed to students not attending mentorship or not having their computers.
·         There is no way for us to track which mentorships had low/high completion rates.
·         It may be helpful for you to familiarize yourself with all that Naviance has to offer by prior to next Tuesday
·         Different grade levels will be completing different activities. Some grades have more required activities to complete.

A couple of teachers have inquired about our cell phone policy (from the handbook):
What is the school protocol concerning cell phones?
  • Per ACPS policy, the instructor determines how and when electronic devices are used for instructional purposes.
  • Violations of this policy should be handled in the following manner
    • 1st violation: confiscate the cell phone and return it at the end of the period.
    • 2nd violation: confiscate the cell phone, a teacher or another adult brings device to the main office to be “logged”; student may retrieve it at the end of the day.
    • 3rd violation: same as 2nd violation, except a parent is called to retrieve phone.

Friday is an A-Day

May 5 will be switched to a B-day

Year-end calendar is here.

Final Exam schedule is here

April 26: Ninth grade field trip (Shakespeare); all day

April 27: Senior English field trip Cancelled

April 28: Poetry Slam (3rd and 4th periods)

Shout Outs
Each year, I’m always amazed by the multitude of talents on display here at Monticello. On Friday night, Mr. Atkins, Ms. Miller and I had the pleasure of attending Monticello’s Spring Concert! Phenomenal! Great work Ms. Hutchinson-Krupat, Ms. Whitmore, and Mr. Coston.

Being a first year Monticello teacher is tough enough. Being responsible for Spirit Week Activities and Prom AND being great at all three, that’s Ms. Stott. What a great week for our students! Thanks Ms. Stott.

Also hat tip to the chaperones (spouses too): Ms. Wilkerson, Ms. Weaver, Ms. Miller, Mr. Konoza, Mr. Stanek, Ms. Modica, Ms. Reynolds, Ms. Terpay, Ms. Stallings, Ms. Kroese, Mr. Ubilla, Ms. Thomas, Ms. Price-Thomas, Mr. Robbins.

April 26: Veronica Price-Thomas
April 27: Kim Morgan-Thomas
April 29: Jenni Stacks
April 30: Louise Weaver

Worth Your Time
5 Ways to Finish: We’re heading down the homestretch...a great reminder to finish strong.

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