My second graders got to do something brand new today, and they were pretty excited about it. I've taught them how to log on to their chromebooks. If you are a teacher you understand what a BIG deal this is. The district assigns students an email address and it isn't simple AT ALL. So I'm pretty proud that they can do this.
Now that they've mastered that, we've moved on to really learning how to create on the computer. Today's big challenge: drag and drop, and cut and paste. The drag and drop which involves moving pictures from one spot to another is pretty simple for most of them. The cut and paste portion is a bit more challenging. They were so proud that they were able to do it.
We started with a pep talk. We teach our students about growth mindset which views challenges as times for real learning to take place. I always talk to them about the fact that when I go to the gym, I don't pick up easy weights - I pick up ones that are heavy and that feel a little bit uncomfortable for me to lift. That slight discomfort means that I am building new muscle. I want them to understand that learning something new might feel a little bit uncomfortable, but that they will also feel tremendous pride when they accomplish it.
The best example from today's pep talk was this: It would be like if you were just born and you got all mad that you couldn't walk yet. If you were "This is crazy! I've been here a WHOLE day and I can't even walk!" We had been talking about the fact that when you try something new, sometimes you get frustrated that you can't do it perfect just yet, and that's when you need to take a break, and try again. The image of an angry, frustrated newborn, berating himself for not yet walking really cracks me up.
I really like working with kids - of all ages. I truly have enjoyed every grade I've taught. Kids surprise you not only with what they can accomplish but with their complex and often deep interpretations of the world around them. The fantastic effort and hard work of my second graders has pushed me to greater determination to ensure that I am always raising the bar of what I expect them to accomplish. It also inspired me to tackle a project with my first graders. We shall see what comes of it!
I wish I had known about growth mindset, and strategies for dealing with new things, and frustration when I was young. I always thought if I didn't learn things immediately it meant I was dumb. In the past, school seemed to teach students that fast was always best. Now, I understand that all people struggle - even the smartest people you can imagine, and that deep thought requires time. As someone wisely once said the things that grow quickly are not as strong as things that take a long time to grow. The oak is much sturdier than a string bean, but in a race based on speed, the string bean wins every time. It is good to remember that there are many things beneath the surface - unseen, unknown, waiting to break through.
Keep moving forward,