This blog is set up to give STEM Academy families tools to think about learning in positive ways both in and OUT of the classroom.

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Here is an article from Harvard Ed. Magazine. It resonates with me as I have meetings with parents who say my child is bored... and I reply as my mom used to reply to me if I ever dared to say that forbidden 5 letter word, boredom is a personal problem, go out and play, climb a tree, read a book, catch frogs in the creek.

STEM Academy does not currenty hold "frogging clinics"

As I walk around the STEM Academy, most days I see engagement, excitement, and challenge. Lets continue to put the responsibility for learning to students, the responsibility for engagement to students, but lets also strive to show them how the work we engage in is relevant. Encourage your kids, preteens and teens to rise to the challenge. Work hard even when you don't feel like it. Feel the sense of satisfaction that comes from doing the right thing when no one is watching. Reading this article helped me add tools to my education tool belt to support teachers, students and parents.
From the article “We have to stop seeing boredom as a frilly side effect. It is a central issue. Engagement is a precondition for learning,” he adds. “No learning happens until students agree to become engaged with the material.”

"“If you see human potential as a bell curve and there are only some kids who are going to be great and most kids are mediocre, then engagement really wouldn’t matter,” Rose says. “But if you really believe that all kids are capable, then you would build environments that really worked hard to sustain engagement and nurture potential.”

"Rose adds that high schools rarely take advantage of an adolescent’s cognitive development. Teenagers “take on identities; they’re more socially oriented. This is the first time when abstract ideas can be motivating. They become more politically engaged and think about things like justice. Yet we’re still keeping them in the kind of education system... that wants nothing from them in terms of their own ideas. School has already decided what matters and [what it] expects from you. It’s like an airplane: Sit down, strap in, don’t talk, look forward. Why would it be meaningful?”

The beauty of relevance, Rose says, “is that it’s free. If you’re an educator or curriculum developer, and you saw your responsibility to ensure every kid knew why they were doing what they were doing, you can do that tomorrow.”

"But the biggest shift we need,” Rose believes, is much more elemental. “We need to get away from thinking that the opposite of ‘bored’ is ‘entertained.’ It’s ‘engaged.’” It’s not about pumping cartoons and virtual reality games into the classroom, it’s about finding ways to make curriculum more resonant, personalized, and meaningful for every student. “Engagement is very meaningful at a neurological level, at a learning level, and a behavioral level. When kids are engaged, life is so much easier.”

Ms. Anderson the 2nd grade teacher at the STEM Academy shares this video with her students.

I'm encouraged and excited to lead a building that values engagement, and works to meet the needs of ALL students. What are ways you battle boredom? How do you encourage your child or student to stay engaged?

-Mr. Chopp

Posted by Chris Chopp  On Feb 09, 2017 at 10:53 AM
Today I received a book from my college and friend Mrs. Caswell @casswellsusan, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.  I have been wanting to read the book since it came out last May. Mrs. Medendorp has read it and shared what she learned with rave reviews. Here is an exert from the review of the book.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perserverance.

"In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Duckworth, now a celebrated researcher and professor, describes her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.

In Grit, she takes readers into the field to visit cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, teachers working in some of the toughest schools, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance. Finally, she shares what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers—from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.

Among Grit’s most valuable insights:

*Why any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal
*How grit can be learned, regardless of I.Q. or circumstances
*How lifelong interest is triggered
*How much of optimal practice is suffering and how much ecstasy
*Which is better for your child—a warm embrace or high standards
*The magic of the Hard Thing Rule

Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference."

If the review didn't wet your whistle to learn more about grit maybe Angela Duckworth's TED talk about the subject is more up your alley.

Another great resource is the video from about Grit. 

Dr. Angela Duckworth talks about Grit from Character Lab on Vimeo.

Posted by Chris Chopp  On Jan 11, 2017 at 4:47 PM
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