Perseverance is an interesting concept isn’t it? The ability to take on a challenge…to work hard even when things are challenging…to be able persist even when things don’t go your way. Talk about REAL LIFE, right? As I sit here blogging from my son’s hospital room, I am doing a little self-talk about taking on this challenge! It is NOT easy!
I have always been of the belief that some students need to be explicitly taught life “strategies” such as perseverance. If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you will know that I often put my students in difficult situations and work to navigate them through them. Sometimes I worry that we as teachers and parents want to make things easier for kids–to protect them from stress and overly challenging tasks. Sometimes I think we worry about “self-esteem” and how kids will handle tasks that are really really frustrating. I know that I strive to help teach kids how to pick “just right” books … and I want their word work to be “just right”…
But in math, I sometimes push the envelope a little bit. Why? I really feel that I can put kids in tougher situations if I can support them, give them strategies to get started, and to help them learn to work cooperatively. I see that many students can rise to the occasion and solve problems I never thought they could–and wouldn’t have ever shown me if I didn’t give them the chance.
For months I have been trying to figure out how to explain some of the things I do that I have found to be really really successful, so today I thought I’d share with you a poster I use with my students to make sure they always have some “tools” in their toolbox to get started. In fact, by this point in the year my students know to not say “I don’t get it” unless they have tried everything on the poster!