Godzilla Gazette, 5

Week of September 22, 2014


  • From Grace
  • The Reflective Practitioner
  • Weekly Events
  • For Your Information

From Grace

Hello, all! I feel like I've been in a bubble without any real grasp of events happening in the outside world. I cannot tell you how much comfort I have taken in the fact that each of you is at Mathews and our students are in such good hands. Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes during this difficult time for our family. I appreciate it more than you can know.

One of the things I've learned this week is the amazing similarities between the fields of education and medicine. I've been so grateful for the dedicated nurses and doctors who have worked tirelessly for my dad and see no less dedication from each of you. I see nurses struggle to make the new technology work, to document everything that needs to be documented, to balance the needs of each patient, doctors' orders and personalities, and communicate with the families waiting anxiously nearby. Sound familiar?

I've also learned that it truly does take a team to support patients, especially one as critical as my dad. There is no way possible that just one person with just one expertise could do this on his/her own. Similarly, it takes a team of us to support each other and our struggling students. This week's Reflective Practitioner, looks at how we can help engage and support our most struggling learners and includes a video by Carol Dweck, whose work with growth mindset we've talked about before. I hope you find the time to actually watch it. :) Most importantly, please reflect on the questions at the end of the article.

Have a beautiful week of teaching and learning.

The Reflective Pracitioner

Watch What's Working: Carol Dweck Talks Growth Mindset

SEPTEMBER 19, 2014


by Bob Lenz

Founder and Chief of Innovation, Envision Education, Oakland CA

What about the kids that don't "get" school? What about the kid who doesn't see the point or the purpose of sitting in a desk and doing assignments that have never motivated her in the past? Or the kid who is always assigned tasks that perpetuate the notion that he is simply "not that smart?"

The good news is that these students can be reached by the right kind of mindset by adults at every school. There is a sweet spot in education, where educators provide the optimal environment, support and standards and students find the motivation and purpose to own their education and work hard for success. This is especially important for disengaged and disadvantaged students. These are the students who most need schools that will help them experience school differently and overcome doubts about their own abilities. They need schools, in other words, that encourage "the growth mindset."

Here's Carol Dweck, Stanford University's growth mindset guru and researcher, talking about how Envision Education offers students a "winning combination" of high expectations and effective support (Video at end of Article).

Dweck describes research, done by her and by her Stanford colleagues, that highlights the factors making a difference for all youth, especially disadvantaged students. Schools can help these students succeed by promoting, by design and via daily instruction, messages that tell students:

  • Your intelligence is something that can and will develop, with effort, good strategies, and support from this school
  • You have a purpose. You are "doing school" so that you can contribute something to your family and to the world
  • You belong here, in this school; this school is for you
  • We, as your teachers, will set high standards for you, and we will give you what you need to succeed

When these messages are communicated well, educators can transform a student's experience of learning from disengaged to engaged and excited. Schools that respond to students' needs by giving them relevant and meaningful work and by developing strong, positive, and productive relationships with them will produce graduates with strong growth mindsets. Armed with the certainty that their own efforts can and will take them far, these students are poised to succeed, which isn't only good news for them and for their families: it's good news for our society as a whole.

Questions to Move Us Forward

  • What is the most effective way to increase students' ownership of the work they do in your class and/or school?
  • How do you help students gain a growth mindset who may believe that other kids are inherently smarter or more talented?
  • How do we as adults in a school model (or not) a growth mindset for our students?

Please share your responses and your thoughts in the comments section below.

Carol Dweck on Performance Assessment (Teaching Channel)

Weekly Events

Monday, September 22, 2014 - B Day

  • TEMI Window Opens
  • BTEN Meeting - 8:00 am - Robin
  • Courage in Action - 8:30 am - Rm. 209 - 5th grade
  • Phone Conference - 10:30 am - Elise, Grace
  • ARD - 1:00 pm - Grace, Elise, Laura, Janie, Lauren
  • Meeting with Sherri - Elise

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - C Day

  • Achieve 3000 Grade Level Training - During Conference Times - 3rd-6th grades
  • BTEN Meeting - 12:25 pm - Rm. 211 - Chad, Grace
  • Classroom Management for Volunteers - 5:45 pm - Library - Grace

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - A Day

  • GT Nomination Window Closes
  • Courage in Action - 8:30 am - Rm. 209 - 5th grade
  • BTEN Meeting - 10:15 am - Rm. 106 - Monica, Grace
  • BTEN Meeting - 12:25 pm - Rm. 209 - Diana, Grace
  • YogaYoga Class! - 3:00 pm - TBD - All Interested

Thursday, September 25, 2014 - B Day

  • ARDs - as scheduled - All Required
  • Courage in Action - 8:30 am - Rm. 209 - 5th grade
  • BTEN Meeting - 3:00-3:15 pm - Library - Team Members
  • Staff Meeting - 3:15-4:15 pm - Library - All

Friday, September 26, 2014 - C Day

  • School-wide Assembly - 7:40 am - Gym - All
  • Legacy of Giving Assembly - 9:00-10:00 am - Cafeteria - 5th Grade
  • Food and Fiber Expo - 9:00 am - 2:00 pm - Travis Co. Expo Center - 3rd Grade
  • Science Center Field Trip - 9:00 am - 12:00 pm - PreK
  • American Indian Heritage Day Trip - 9:00 am - 11:30 am - Bob Bullock Museum - 4th Grade

For Your Information


  • Take attendance every day through TEAMS
  • Ensure 504, IEP, and Gifted Accommodations are being followed
  • Actively supervise your students
  • Please be aware of the heat and make sure your students are staying hydrated and cool during recess
  • Check our calendar for important events
  • Have fun!

Kudos: Do you know of something good? Share it with Grace to be included here or write it in the comments below!

  • To Robin, Elise, Susan, Maria, and Everyone for holding down the fort last week
  • To Amanda for volunteering to lead Friday's assembly and to her students for teaching us about SEL
  • To Robin for organizing a GT parent information session
  • To everyone for signing up for committees! Goooooo, Team!

Upcoming Events:

  • Grade Level Meetings with Grace - September 29
  • Rescheduled CAC Meeting - September 30
  • Flu Shot Clinic After School - September 30
  • TPRI/DRA Window Closes - October 3
  • Vision and Hearing Screenings - October 8
  • Parent/Teacher Conferences - October 13

Website to Explore:

  • edudemic.com - I know I've shared this one before, but it's worth coming back for another look. This site is truly dedicated to helping teachers make technology integration work. Whether you're a tech junkie or a tech newbie, this site has helpful and relevant information and ideas for you. Check it out!