Monday, 28 April 2014

The Book: Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 Teaching Kids to Succeed

For my own professional development I read Debbie Silver's book and wanted to make some notes to remember in the future:

"If children are so naturally inquisitive, what happens to their drive and enthusiasm as they grow older?"

Debbie Silver states: 

Children are intrinsically motivated, and with the proper kind of feedback, they can learn all sorts of necessary skills and self sustaining learning practices. (12)

When I read this quote by Debbie it reinforced any doubts I had about teaching through an inquiry lens. Students learn better when they are driven by their own desire to learn instead of the teacher's desire to check off curriculum expectations. 

We need to set the learning environment to foster student's natural enthusiasm for becoming independent learners. 

Entitlement or Empowerment

I love this idea: "We need to shift our focus from doling out un-metered praise in hopes of raising their self-esteem to helping them understand the power they have in making positive choices and sustained efforts. We should worry less about entertaining kids and more about engaging them in meaningful tasks that encourage self motivation. To help our young people feel the confidence of self-efficacy and empower them with resilience, we have to avoid filling them with an entitlement mentality." (13)


"I know this is going to be easy for you are all in the top math group"


"You have shown tremendous growth in your math reasoning strategies this year. Take your time and use the skills you have already mastered."

For more examples see pages 13-15

Self Regulation

Tips to help children with impulse control:

  1. do not allow children to raise their hands or blurt answers. When asking for a reponse, require students to wait 3-7 sec. before calling on someone randomly
  2. Model "think alouds: for students
  3. Teach students the "stop and think" 5 step p.s. strategy:
    1. What am I supposed to do? 
    2. Look al all the possibilities
    3. Focus in 
    4. Pick an answer
    5. Check out my answer
  4. Simon Says is an excellent reinforcement activity for thinking before acting
  5. With defiant behaviour set a timer for 1-2 min. Tell the student he has a brief period to decide whether he wants to meet the terms of the request or take the consequence for his inappropriate choice.
Magic Words 
Two words a teacher/parent can say to the child struggling with self regulation: for now

Promoting Autonomy in Learners (116)
  1. Provide the learner with choice
  2. Encourage students to experiment, do creative thinking and challenge themselves
  3. Focus the student in the student's zone of proximal development
  4. Provide feedback that is nonjudgmental and gives specific information about how to improve
  5. Give meaningful reasons for the task
"In my experience, the heart of building autonomy lies in giving students meaningful choices and being responsive to them as learners." 121

Neil Noddings (1992) "We cannot enter into dialogue with children when we know that our decision is already made"

Try to avoid stepping in too quickly

Think about the student that we have asked to answer a question in front of his/her peers the student is looking at you with the wide-eyed deer in headlights look. We are afraid he/she will be traumatized if we don't step in or ask another student to help out. Think about it this way: by asking another student virtually we are telling every person in the classroom, including the student, that we don't think he/she could do it - as well as teaching them learned helplessness. Instead - use appropriate wait time - and then provide cues, prompts and further questions to help clarify the answer. (123) We have the best intentions but we are robbing students of their learning!!

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