TAG Newsletter


Is Grit More Important Than Intelligence?

There's a lot of "grit" getting thrown around. I'm seeing the word everywhere. Is it just a fad, or does Angela Duckworth, a renowned psychologist (former teacher), have a point when her research showed that students who possessed perseverance and determination, or "grit", performed better at school and in their jobs. Actually, Duckworth believes that grit can be quantified. Her University of Pennsylvania website has "Grit Scale" can be found here. What's yours? How about your child's?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately - how to cultivate grit in the classroom. The other day, some of my students were doing a math challenge problem. One student struggled and totally was paralyzed from moving forward on the problem. I had to stop and let him know that the tears were a good thing. Yes, a good thing! It's in the struggle that our brain grows, much like building muscles in other areas of our body. If everything is easy and there's no struggle (and no perseverance) than the brain does not grow.

According to Paul Tough in his book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power Of Character, the best thing to do to develop the character of our children is to let them experience failure. As he states:

American children, especially those who grow up in relative comfort, are, more than ever, shielded from failure as they grow up. They certainly work hard; they often experience a great deal of pressure and stress; but in reality, their path through the education system is easier and smoother than it was for any previous generation. Many of them are able to graduate from college without facing any significant challenges. But if this new research is right, their schools, their families, and their culture may all be doing them a disservice by not giving them more opportunities to struggle. Overcoming adversity is what produces character. And character, even more than IQ, is what leads to real and lasting success.

What do you do with the knowledge that it takes more than intelligence for your child to be successful at school? How do we cultivate that inner desire to do well? In a nutshell, do not praise your child for their "smarts", but rather, praise them for their effort. Allow them to struggle. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much your child has accomplished. If they've done a lot. praise them. If they struggled and still put something on the paper - praise them. What you want to foster is that effort is key to being successful and for growth.

Mrs. Ruppert-Stratton's Tip #2 - Embrace Failure

Chinese Method of Multiplication - 3rd and 4th Grade Math

Sure, we all know how to multiply 12 x 24. There is the lattice method, the partial product method, and the Chinese method...whoa, what? Yes, there are a myriad of ways how to multiply. I have shown my students just three ways. But, the Chinese method is a fun way to calculate products. Can you figure out how it's done? If not, go here to watch a video. Fun!

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Have an Emotional TAGster?

Dr. Casandra Ma, Staff Therapist and Clinic Coordinator at the Family Institute at Northwestern University, has identified six emotional factors that researchers know can influence success at school: confidence, curiosity, intentionality, relatedness, capacity to communicate, and cooperation.

Read the full article in order to assist your child in developing these characteristics which can increase academic achievement.

And You Thought Tic-Tac-Toe Was a Kiddie Game - Think Again!

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Playing Shakespeare! A FREE Event!

Saturday, Dec. 6th, 10am-12pm

The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States Calhoun room 100 and courtyard

Austin, TX

The University of Texas Shakespeare at Winedale program invites you to join them for a “Playing Shakespeare” workshop for children on Saturday, December 6, from 10 a.m. to noon, on the University of Texas campus. The kids will enjoy some warm-up games, singing, and playing with Shakespeare!

The session is free of charge, but it would help us to know you’re coming. To RSVP, call 512-471-8367 or email Outreach Assistant Allison Dillon at allison.dillon@austin.utexas.edu. Please provide the student’s name, a parent/guardian name, what school your child attends, who his or her teacher is, and a phone number.

Parents are welcome to attend. If you would like to drop off your child, we will need you to fill out and sign a legal release and a medical information form before leaving.

WHO: The workshops are open to all interested children, aged 8-14, who seek to learn more about Shakespeare and performance

COST: Free!

RSVP: Email or phone

INFO: Call Mr. Stromberger at 512-363-6864

or Allison Dillon at 512-228-8898 or allison.dillon@austin.utexas.edu

To get to the workshop meeting place on Saturday:

We meet at 9:50 on the sidewalk just below the Littlefield Fountain, south of the UT Tower. Find the long curb area in front of the fountain (the one with the figures riding horses) – below the South Mall, cattycorner from Dobie Mall. You can pull over to the curb with blinkers on and get out to talk with our staff. Wait for a UT Shakespeare helper to greet you and get your contact information. You’ll also need to sign a legal release and medical info form if you are NOT staying to observe or participate. If you want to stay, plan to find street parking west of Guadalupe Street at a meter. At 10 a.m. we proceed up the hill to Calhoun. IF YOU ARE LOST CALL Allison at 512-228-8898 or Mr. Stromberger at 512-363-6864. Thanks!