So we’re off and running with our second Friday Morning Meeting today. If you are unaware of our format for Friday Morning Meetings, the entire school comes together to hear me read a picture book aloud once a month. (How fun is that? Lots!) Each book holds a theme based in a Fiske Fundamental of Fair, Inclusive, Safe, Kind or Encouraging behaviors or a continuation of the school’s work in promoting a Growth Mindset. A team of staff worked over the summer to create lesson plans for each book that grade level teachers use after the read aloud. There is also a rich list of references that I get to share with you after every book!
Today’s book was Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. The book explains in child-friendly language just what your brain does including naming the different parts of the brain, what each section is responsible for and how you can get your brain to grow through practice.
As I do most times we meet, I promised the students that I would juggle for them after I read and that a special guest would join me. The guest turned out to be a second grader, Matt, who has taught himself to juggle. Matt and I held a short discussion in front of the students, in which Matt explained that it took him at least 10 days of practicing before he learned to juggle. I emphasized that Matt, like me, made plenty of mistakes along the way, but we both were able to learn to juggle through much trial and error. As a finale, Matt and I juggled together – he was much better than me!
Today’s resources include a magazine article on mindset, as it relates to parenting, a brief article on the brain written for children and a video from the Kahn Academy. Each discusses and promotes a growth mindset approach in practical ways. I hope you have the time in your busy schedules to check out at least one.
My first recommendation is a brief video entitled, You Can Learn Anything from Kahn Academy, an online resource where you can learn just about anything. The video shows quite clearly that we are born to learn and failure gives us just another opportunity to learn. Here it is: https://www.khanacademy.org/youcanlearnanything
There are two lines from the video narration that stick with me:
- “There was a time when Einstein couldn’t count to 10.”
- “Failing is just another word for growing.”
The second resource I would like to share is a brief article about the merits of teaching children about how their brain works. Here it is: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/04/what-kids-should-know-about-their-own-brains/
Finally, here is a New York Times article about growth mindset from a parent’s point of view. I have shared this article in the past, but find it worth re-reading or as a primer for growth mindset, if you haven’t read anything about it previously. Simply click on this link: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/
With Halloween right around the corner, I want to remind parents and guardians that while we hold a costume parade, we want to make sure students do not wear costumes or bring in props that are violent in nature. Items that fall in this category are bloodstained costumes, weapons or characters from violent films or popular culture. Thank your for your attention in this matter.
Also I want you to know that the staff and I are engaging in discussions about Halloween since we have a handful of students that do not celebrate the holiday and thus, do not participate in the Halloween parade. I have held discussions with the entire staff and a small group to make sure students do not feel excluded when they attend school during a day when so many are celebrating a holiday their families don’t observe for a whole host of reasons. I will have some more information to share on this in next week’s Community News.
Staying on the same theme of inclusiveness, I met with parents, Nicole Vecchiotti and Cara Fineman this week to discuss formalizing plans to make Boston students’ late days more educational and fun. Beyond METCO stay days, in which Boston students usually have a play date with a school friend, once a month METCO students stay an extra hour at school. Nicole, Cara and I are looking for your ideas and assistance in creating fun, educational programs. Please email me, Nicole at email@example.com or Cara at firstname.lastname@example.org to lend a hand or share an idea. Thanks.
Finally, I have two parents willing to volunteer for School Council. I have room for one more parent or can go forward with the two. If you’re interested in meeting once a month – most likely on a Wednesday after school – for 60 to 90 minutes to discuss our school improvement plans please let me know by the middle of next week.
Have a great weekend!
Anthony J. Colannino
Fiske Community News 10/17/14