Turning the Page

A Newsletter for New Teachers (Grades 6-12)

Setting the Tone for a New School Year

"Under construction!" This sign should be flashing above the head of every middle and high school student in our classrooms. There are two important contributors to academic growth: Relationships & Mindset. It is critical to begin the school year with both.

The covert, or less visible way to develop relationships is simply showing students respect and interest. Greeting students at the door, asking about their weekends, noticing a new haircut or an injury, and connecting students to one another are small gestures that can play a vital role in weaving the social fabric of the classroom where everyone can do his or her best work.

Complicating the puzzle of teaching adolescents is the role mindset plays in students' motivation to learn. It is well known that teachers significantly, and often unconsciously, influence students' perceptions of their own intelligence (Dweck, 2008). With that in mind, language is the most powerful tool in a teacher's arsenal for sending growth-mindset messages. Praise centered on effort , or a willingness to persevere pushes students forward. Research has shown that students who received this kind of praise were more likely to seek challenge and persist in the face of academic difficulties. They need to hear that they have a fighting chance and that their brains are like a muscle they can exercise and cause to grow (Jensen, 2005).

Two simple (but important) things that can get your students off to a great start this year!

How We Learn.....

True or False: Intelligence is fixed - either you're good at learning or you're not.

Answer: False! In fact, Stanford University research found that simply believing you can work at becoming smarter produces higher achievement!

Forrest Burgdorf, Curriculum Supervisor of Secondary Humanities (6-12), Foreign Language, and ESL

"Decide you are going to find the good in each student you have this year. Make it a goal for each and every day, to make someone's day." - Mary Williams, Educator

Kindergarten Kids Explain Their First Day Of School