Thursday, September 27, 2018

Taking Risks

I think all it takes is at least one teacher to believe in a student and that will encourage self-confidence. If you are confident, you are more willing to take risks. I think also it depends on the teacher’s expectations. If you have high expectations for your students, they will try to meet those expectations. We have to let our students see the classroom as a safe zone—a place where it is okay to make mistakes.

If someone does not take a chance and stays complacent, then nothing will happen. But that also means that nothing good will happen. If you are too cautious and do not take a risk, then you are impeding yourself from having experiences. Once our students make that connection, and understand that a life without mistakes is impossible, then they will be motivated to learn more. One idea I read about and really liked was to give students “risk pads.” Give them Post-It notes and after learning something new tell them to take out their risk pads and try to challenge them by having them solve a question or problem on their risk pads. By identifying it and calling it a risk pad they will learn to accept challenge when it happens.
Learning begins in the womb even! Think about how hard it was for us as infants to learn how to walk. We just never stop learning. We never stop growing as individuals. Life is a school! We need to be aware that learning does not just occur in grades PreK-12th, or even just in higher education. It is a daily event. It is what makes us human.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Reading and teens!!

I am the mother of a thirteen year old. A 13 yo who isn’t *that* excited about reading. It is like a stab in the heart when he asks me why he needs to read. His reasoning is that he already knows how to read. The Reading Specialist in me tried (and failed) to explain fluency to him.

The more you read, the more you learn. I told him this but being 13, he just grumbled.

I want to tell you how I got him to kinda half-hug (not embrace) reading. The first thing I did was let him pick out the books that interested him. He picked out, “Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My A**,” which is a REAL tween book by Adam Mansbach. I know he did it for shock value. So I did not make a big deal of it. I told him he has freedom to read what he wants. I just want him to read!!!

He likes games like Minecraft, Plants vs. Zombies, etc. So I explained to him that the library has books about them! Not just fiction, but I also showed him the non-fiction section where you can learn how to use creative skills to up your game!

Another day, he was upset because he saw a photo online of a turtle that’s shell had been warped by plastic garbage someone threw in the ocean. I told him, “Let’s see if we can find anything to read about how turtles and/or how to help stop littering.” He fell for it.

I stopped nagging him about reading and I left some books out near his computer. He perused him at his own leisure. I had removed the pressure I was putting on him to do it, and he was making his own choice to read.

I even started taking turns with him reading a chapter of a book aloud. Because teens may pretend not to enjoy something when they secretly do!

If you have any other teen reading tips, please share!!