Monday, September 21, 2015

Everything Circles Back Around

When I first became a principal, my new principal mentor gave me the idea to read to classes. So I did. Each week I would go into some of our classrooms to read to the classes that asked me to visit. The teachers were responsible for selecting the books that I read. And it went okay. I think that the students really enjoyed it; it might have been more of a hassle for the teachers that participated.

Last spring, on his blog (linked), Adam Welcome (@awelcome) shared the model that he uses to read to classes. His process gave this much more purpose and structure. It was an idea that I planned to steal and implement.

Fast forward to the present. I've just finished reading The Dot to all of our classrooms. It went really well. I timed this to coincide with International Dot Day (September 15th-ish), and after I read our students had the opportunity to make their own marks and create their own dots.

But something happened as I sat down (not on the time #principalsinaction) to read The Dot to one of our first grade classes. The students knew that I was going to be reading to them, they seemed excited about this, and they began to share some things with me. Some of the students, proudly, began telling me how they could read. However, one little girl spoke up and said, " I can't read."

I corrected this little girl and told her that "She can't read, yet." I then went on to tell her how glad I was that she shared this information with me because this is exactly what The Dot is about. It's a book about not being able do something, yet, and then what happens when the right steps are taken.

I am convinced that everything circles back around to Carol Dweck's theories of mindset. I am also convinced that developing a growth mindset is crucial to all that we do. If we don't believe that we can accomplish something, then the writing is already on the wall in regards to how it is going to turn-out. Our actions, as educators, must model the belief that we can accomplish anything with the right amounts of effort, practice, and support. We must model this for kids. We must convince kids that they, too, can accomplish anything. If kids don't believe that they can do something, how will they ever do it?  We have to change their mindset. It is one of our most important jobs; to instill this growth mindset in our students. It is a game changer.

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