Grit? Why is it important?

Grit is mental stick-to-it-ness. It means setting a goal and working through to the end. It means maintaining effort over sustained periods of time. It means working at something as if it were a marathon instead of a sprint race.

Why is grit important?

Somethings in life are just challenging. Period. A failed first attempt doesn’t mean a failure will last forever. It means it’s a challenge now to work on and overcome in the long run.

School isn’t easy. Life isn’t easy. But the only way to make a challenge go away is to work on it consistently until it becomes less challenging.

Want to help your child develop a sense of grit? Try clicking HERE and reading this short, well-written article for parents on how to help kids develop a sense of grit.


CAASPP Results for EGUSD

Our school district has a press release about how our students performed last year on the state’s newest standardized assessment-California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress

To read the full release, click HERE.

While we will take the test in the spring and focus on doing our best, I would like to add that there are many things an assessment like this cannot measure. We won’t be teaching to a test per se, but rather teaching the students in our class to realize their fullest potential. Your child is more than a test score. I have the honor to see that everyday in class.

By working on our thinking moves, reading a LOT, discussing our confusion, and building a strong sense of curiosity and grit, I have full confidence that our students will do just fine on the CAASPP or any assessment we throw at them. ­čÖé

Growth Mindset Video to Watch

Today was my favorite┬áday of the school year! We revised writing, wrote quietly, filmed timelapse sequences for math, shot standups for math videos, worked on writing expressions in math and translating expressions into mathematical scenarios, evaluated the cost per gallon for tap water using Mr. Bentley’s water bill, and reviewed how we scored ourselves using Angela Duckworth’s Grit Assessment.

We also took time to watch the Duckworth video and discuss what grit really means: mental perseverance, attending to a goal long term and not giving up.

We discussed that learning and grades aren’t just a result of “being smart.” They’re the result of being willing to fail and learn from mistakes. I was so proud of the attention students gave to this film in class.

I’ve got another video I’d like you to watch at home with your child. It’s a TED talk with Carol Dweck, an expert on The Growth Mindset and involved wtih Mindset Works, an organization dedicated to promoting student motivation and learning.┬áThe growth mindset is a subject Angela Duckworth actually referenced in her TED talk.

By the way, if you haven’t checked out TED talks on Apple TV or other streaming devices, PLEASE do! They’re fantastic explorations into “ideas worth sharing” and cover a wide range of topics. And they are FREE! ­čÖé

Please watch Carol Dweck and discuss with your child. We’ll watch in class and discuss, too. When you’re thinking and learning about your thinking and learning, it’s called being “metacognitive.” It’s a powerful way to understand how we think and improve on those thinking skills!


Progress Reports Coming

I’m working on progress reports for your children this week. I want to give you a heads up: they’ll focus on your child’s learning progress first and letter grades second. Chances are these progress reports will be very different from the ones you’ve received in the past.

I’ll be providing you specific feedback on areas of strength and weaknesses. Not just a handful of letter grades.

We have an amazingly diverse and talented group of students. I look forward to coming to work each day to work with your child.

I will be transparent. I do have some concerns.

I must balance my time spent working with students working at or above grade level with those who struggle.

I’m concerned about getting students at a grade level reading fluency and┬ácontinuing to see others grow beyond their current levels. We have many readers who are decoding below grade level which affects their reading comprehension. We have several decoding at or above grade level, too.

I’m concerned about many of our students’ reading comprehension. I’m also keen to keep those reading at or above grade level progressing in their growth.

I’m concerned about students reading independently for adequate, sustained periods of time at home with appropriate levels of textual rigor. Ready below one’s zone of proximal development does not help build reading comprehension or decoding at grade level. Likewise, I want to make sure kids who already love reading and are doing it continue to do so.

I’m concerned that students may not be spending enough time reading with an adult at home and talking about what they’re reading.┬áIf you have not yet made it a habit to read nightly with your child and discuss what you’re reading, now is the time. It appears we have students who are in desperate need of more reading with adults at home.

I’m concerned about students’ math numeracy-that includes their understanding of multiplication, addition, subtraction, and division facts. Now is the time to memorize those facts. It will be a MAJOR obstacle to advancing in math later. I’m also dedicated to extending and accelerating kids who are on or above grade level in their numeracy.

I’m concerned about students’ willingness to show mental grit and mental flexibility when it comes to critical thinking. We will be working on thinking moves for the next two years to get kids using their minds rather than just “doing” work.

I’ve had 24 days to get to know your child. You’ve had the past 10 years. I know you know them MUCH better than I do, and I’m working hard to figure out how each student learns best. In the little time we’ve worked together, I have seen many strengths and many areas that must┬ábe developed in individual students.

I have many concerns for students in our class, and I will need your help. We all play a role: students, parents, teacher. Together we can do amazing things. We all need to make sure we are each doing our part to the best of our ability.


How Gritty Are You?

It’s a lot of work being a 5th grader today. I’m asking students to take a survey in class today to determine just how much mental grit they show at this moment.

Grit is an important character trait that we have been working on and will continue to work on in class. The survey is sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, and it’s designed to help students reflect on just how much mental stamina and endurance they exhibit.

There’s an online version of the survey you can take by clicking HERE.

Or you can take the paper version by clicking HERE.

Angela Duckworth is an expert on grit and its importance for learners. You can view a TED talk with her discussing the matter below. I would encourage you to watch this with your child and talk about why grit is so important.

It’s the beginning of the school year, and I see that a LOT of our students need to develop this essential character trait if they are going to reach or exceed grade level standards in math, writing, reading.

For me the big takeaway is this: if school is hard or if a subject is challenging, let’s focus on that weakness and make it a strength!