Over the last couple weeks we’ve been getting all of our students through their first round of MAP tests, much to their dismay! I was covering in a few of these classes and tried having a conversation with them about the idea of growth and celebrating just how far they’ve come at the end of the year; it seems like this whole concept just washes over them like a huge wave of “whatever Mr. Olson!” I, however, take solace in the things I heard kids saying at the end of last school year. As we finished up the MAP testing in late May I heard all sorts of conversations between kids, with me, with teachers, and with parents about the amount of growth they had made over the course of the year. The mentality of our students has started to make a promising shift toward a growth mindset, especially for the kids who saw a significant amount of growth! It was an awesome feeling to hear those kids talking (and bragging) that way.
We’ve talked a lot about growth mindsets, especially when we read Mindset by Carol Dweck, and we all buy into this theory for our kids. There is great work being done by curriculum teams to plan differentiated work, for not only struggling students, but also for more advanced students who need a bit of challenge. We all know that every student CAN learn when we meet them at their level; growth can and will happen! We are working hard to ensure that every student has the chance to learn, whether today, tomorrow, or some time down the road.
Another reason that got me thinking about this idea of growth is our recent addition of the mini-observations and the coinciding feedback efforts. I’ve had some awesome conversations with you based around what’s happening in your classrooms. For me, some of the most rewarding parts of this process have been the conversations we’ve been able to have about the student-learning that we’re seeing. To hear the excitement in your voices when you talk about the amazing things you’re seeing and doing with your students is energizing for me. Coming back to the growth piece of this, it’s awesome to see all of the additions and changes that people have been making based on our conversations. Good teachers are made from hard work, practice, and continuous learning. Teachers don’t just fall off of trees, it takes a lot of effort to become a great teacher. To see everyone working so hard to improve themselves on a day-to-day basis is inspiring…awesome!!
I’m attaching a great article summary to this email about five things that great teachers do to have an impact on student-learning. The summary comes from the Marshall Memo, which is written by Kim Marshall. It’s a great resource that comes out each week summarizing important topics in educational research and practice.