As we return to the daily routines of school and the busy holiday season that fills the time between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break, we often forget to slow down and really appreciate the good things in our lives. As I reflect on all the things I have to be thankful for, I realize just how much I am thankful for all my experiences here at DNH.
Here are just a few things that I am thankful for:
Technology--I must say that technology has become a key part of my everyday life. My Christmas shopping is well underway thanks to online shopping and my life is somewhat organized thanks to Google Calendar! I love that I can schedule and share events on my calendars--That’s right! I have more than one!--with colleagues, speech students, and even my family.
Helpers--We have so many amazing associates and support staff in our buildings. These “helpers” are doing great things by providing the support that many of our students need. DNH is lucky to have so many caring people in our buildings working to help our students achieve success. Be sure to let them know what a great asset they are to our students!
Administration--The administration team has been so supportive of the TLC endeavor. I greatly appreciate how they involve us in decision making, allow us time for attending professional development opportunities, and encourage us to try new ideas. Not all TLC teams have this support!
November--It’s hard to believe that this school year is already one-third complete! I am thankful for November as this time of year forces me to slow down just a bit, enjoy time with family and friends, and take time to refocus before jumping back into another busy season. I hope you have also enjoyed some time to recharge.
Kids--I am thankful to not only have two happy, healthy boys of my own, but also to have so many wonderful kids here at DNH. I’m thankful that I have to opportunity to teach and learn with our students. It has been exciting to work with kids at all grade levels and in a variety of experiences.
Family--As I spent Thanksgiving Day with my large and noisy family, I realized how appreciative I am of the time I get to spend with them. We always have a great time with lots of laughter. Not only am I thankful for my own family, I have found myself lucky to have such a great work family too! It truly is a blessing to be able to share and laugh with the people you work with.
Understanding--With all the new challenges that have come our way this year, I appreciate how understanding everyone has been with the instructional coaches as we navigate through this first year, learning the coaching process, various teaching styles, and different grade level expectations. Your patience with us is greatly appreciated!
Learning Experiences--I cannot express how thankful I am to have had so many wonderful opportunities to work with such great teachers and students. Each time I enter a classroom to observe, provide feedback, or co-teach, I learn something new.
Take time to be thankful!
We have much to be proud of at Dike-New Hartford. The community is aware of the success in volleyball, football, cross country, cheerleading, the high school play and in our music programs. Today I would like to share some of the excellent things I have seen happening recently in classrooms.
Wednesday, November 2 the Mrs. Ostiguy’s 6th graders hosted a Cultural Fair within their soclal studies class periods. Groups of students created multi-media displays with artifacts to share a culture from around the world. This project demonstrated their knowledge of the eight elements of culture, their skills in organizing research in a clear, informative way, and showed how culture can bring a group of people together. Also that week, foreign exchange students from the high school also spoke about their cultures and their experiences at DNH.
Some 7th graders are nearing completion of a trimester-long coding class. Recently Mrs. Seymour introduced Mrs. Hoffman’s students to Ozobots, small line-following robots. Students were very excited to see what tiny "toys" could do. “Hey, these ozobots are magic,” was the comment of one student. After exploring for a while, another student stated, “Hey, these colored squares are just coding.” Students set to work to using their coding skills to control the ozobot's movements.
Mr. Bennett’s government classes worked hard to administer a mock election in our district on Monday, November 7. High school students visited PK-5th grade classes leading activities to explain voter registration, election vocabulary and symbols, and some of the candidates. Elementary students also got to vote in voting booth, where students learned about the secrecy of ballots, voted for president and their favorite flavor of frootie candy. Even though their favorite candy flavor may have not won, students got to enjoy the flavor of the majority--very understandable explanation of a democracy. The mock election was a great learning opportunity for all.
These are just a few of the excellent classroom happenings here at Dike-New Hartford. I hope to be able to share others soon.
Today, the middle school staff introduced the concept of growth mindset to their students grades 5-8. A couple weeks ago, students took a growth mindset survey, but they were not told what it was for or given their results immediately. This morning, students received their results and were then asked to head to the gym for an assembly without further explanation. Once there, they were introduced to what growth vs. fixed mindset actually means, Mrs. Seymour gave them real life examples of what growth mindset looks like, and they were able to watch a video by Trevor Ragan on the idea of being a "learning machine." After the video, students broke into groups and went through three rotations in which they completed different growth mindset activities.
At one station, students talked about the importance of setting goals and following through with them, even when things get tough. They colored a motivation quote to stick on the inside of their computer lids so that it will always be there with them, and they played mentally and physically challenging games that required a bit of productive struggle to complete. One game, "Do as I say, not as I do," required students to do just that. They had to listen to the speaker, repeat what was said, and complete an action. As you can imagine, it was a bit of a challenge, but they began to get the hang of it after a bit. Once they were getting better at it, they would change it up and make it a little bit more difficult by adding another element, such as listening to the speaker, repeating what was said, but doing the opposite.
In another group, students listened to two stories by Peter Reynolds revolving around growth mindset, The Dot, and Ish, They discussed how these connected and the themes of the books, then they made posters for around the building to keep the message of growth mindset present throughout the school.
The final rotation was a mini-research projects of sorts. Students picked an inspirational quote from around the room then had to do some research to find out who said it, what struggles they faced, and how this person was someone who had a growth mindset. They were asked to describe this persons successes and failures and share how their journey is an example of growth and productive struggle. They then watched a couple clips that explained the brain science behind growth mindset, and described the amazingness of our growing, always learning, malleable brains.
Overall, it was a wonderful morning of learning, and we are looking forward to seeing where growth mindset takes us next! For more information on what growth mindset it, visit our growth mindset page on the website.