Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Learning Through The Arts

Roald Dahl's, Matilda the Musical - Toronto 2016...it is going to be quite the show!

Theatrical productions such as these can be an amazing experience, see them as windows of opportunity for learning. 

For example, if the play is based on a novel take the time prior to screening to introduce the story and author, read the book together.

After you've seen the play encourage ongoing discussion, did the production portray the novel in its entirety? What did they like most about it? Who was their favourite character and their least favourite?

Children WILL learn through their own experiences.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Taking Risks Are All Part of Growth

Taking risks means trying new things and learning as you go along.

But taking risks is never easy, when we hear the word alone negativity takes over us and the uncertainty breeds fear. 

It requires a certain amount vulnerability; you're putting yourself out there.

There's also a level of resiliency, the ability to get back up in the face of adversity, see it as a learning curve and try again.  

And then there's TRUST.  

It's hard to ignore the mixed messages we send kids on a daily basis...Take more risks! Don't take the risk! 

Truth be told, children and youth should be given the opportunity to take the appropriate risk in order to practice and properly develop the necessary risk-assessment skills needed throughout their life.

Take for example during a typical day at school, we encourage students to take academic risks, emotional and intellectual risks. But are we creating a safe environment to do so?

Here's an example, for those students we've unduly labeled as the 'quiet' ones, we ask that they make every attempt to actively participate in group and class discussions, easier said than done, right?! We administer tests, assessments, evaluations and quizzes all in an effort to measure student performance and intelligence throughout the school year. All quite nerve wracking.

And for most these are met with either a failing grade or snickers and whispers amongst peers. 

Is this the reward for risk taking? It's as though we set them up for failure.

So how can we create safe spaces for children to take risk both at home and school?

- Make it VERY clear that all efforts will not go unnoticed, no matter how small. 

- Recognize these as part of the process. Every effort leads to improvement.

- Model risk taking behavior yourself, be willing to try something new and be willing to fail.

And guide them...while you applaud all efforts; the big and the small, make it clear that you have all confidence in their ability to achieve mastery, be there to guide them should they falter and celebrate the courage it takes them to take these risks.


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Making The Grade

As end of term marks cards come filtering in so do the anxieties, here are my thoughts...

Skip the comparisons, move past the judgement and use this as a time to reflect. 

Focus on the teacher comments together, get their feedback about these, ask...what are they most proud of? What would they like to improve on? What can we do different? And how can WE achieve this? Goal set together and move forward. 

Throughout the school year follow up on these by 'checking in' from time to time with both the teaching staff and your child.

"A successful learning environment connects the community, home and school." -Dale Ho, Hon. RECE