The Giddy-Up Gazette

Week of May 19-23

Rewarding Students for the Struggle

Anne Sobel from Notheastern University/Qatar wrote an interesting article, "How Failure in the Classroom is More Instructive than Success", in Chronicle of Higher Education which supports something we've frequently talked about and professed this year...the "struggle" students experience as they learn. Our district supports this idea - it is found in our philosophy, grading guidelines, the premise behind formative grades, and in each of our classrooms!

Sobel notes that from a young age, students learn that getting the right answer is what counts and failure is the crucible of development. Thomas Edison had an insightful perspective when he said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work." Angela Lee Duckworth's research on "grit" has led her to believe that experts are doing the kind of practice that makes them better when they are frequently failing & confused. Is she suggesting we confuse students, refuse assistance, and encourage failure?!? NOT at ALL!! She is talking about allowing our students to struggle through learning within the Proximal Zone of Development to increase their learning.

Here are some tips Sobel suggested to give students permission to fail, aka "struggle" (for the sake of learning), while maintaining high standards and encouraging students to forge ahead to earn good grades:

  • Create an ethos - make it clear that a certain amount of failure is okay - your classroom is a safe place to experiment, take risks, and make mistakes. Share "famous failure" quotes...Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, the Beatles, Oprah, Albert Einstein...
  • Give real-time feedback - timely, formative feedback is far more productive than feedback given at the end of a unit or project. "When students have a chance to refine their work on the basis of feedback, it creates a deeper experience with the material."
  • Reflect on failure - it's helpful for students to share successes, challenges, and mistakes at the end of a project or unit. This helps them reflect and realize that everyone makes mistakes and encounters challenges. "Learning to fail could help our students become more resilient, self-aware, innovative, and compassionate."

Week At A Glance

May 19-23, 2014

  • Video Announcements
  • PLC Day
  • Happy Birthday, Linda!!

  • 4th Grade to OLC
  • Guided Math Group Training 2nd-5th grade @ Sendera Ranch
  • Specials teachers, Christa, Tracey give teachers names of students who are receiving EOY awards from their area


  • Recycling Day - put recycling bins in hallway by 11:00
  • Guided Math Group Training Kinder-1st grade @ Sendera Ranch
  • Make contact with parents of students being recognized at EOY Awards Ceremony

  • Million Word Challenge Celebration 3rd-5th Grade - schedule to be emailed
  • Carrie @ PLC today - Belinda Reasoner & Cheryl Hunt (AP from BNHS) on campus & available for administrative support
  • Board of Trustee Awards for NHS feeder pattern 7PM @ NHS PAC

  • 1st Grade Silver Spurs
  • Million Word Challenge Celebration Kinder-2nd Grade - schedule to be emailed
  • Close of DRA & QRI Windows
  • Pay Day!!!

Upcoming Events

  • 5/26 Happy Memorial Day - NO SCHOOL for staff & students
  • 5/27 Yearbook distribution & signing during Specials, 2nd Grade Field Trip
  • 5/28 JA in a Day Kinder-2nd grade
  • 5/29 Night of No Limits @ BNHS 6pm
  • 5/30 Pay Day Buffet, Kinder Silver Spurs
  • 6/2 3rd Grade Awards - 1:00, 4th Grade Awards - 2:00
  • 6/3 Kinder Awards - noon, 1st Grade Awards - 1:00, 2nd Grade Awards - 2:00
  • 6/4 5th Grade Promotion Ceremony 8:30
  • 6/5 & 6/6 Early Release Days
  • 6/8 Happy Birthday, Debbie!!
  • 6/25 Happy Birthday, Susan!!