January 4, 2016
Happy New Year!
We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's together as families, and are coming back from the break refreshed and closer to each other and to God!
Now, the new year's blank pages stretch before us, waiting to be filled. Have you made any resolutions this year? Often, we set goals as we determine to make each moment count. It's a great thing to reflect on goal-setting together as a family; we can be mentors for each other in how goals of various sizes are made and accomplished. As Christians, this is important as we are all committed to reaching the great goal of eternal life in Christ.
No one ever said reaching a goal would be easy, but how vital it is for our temporal and eternal success! Read the article below from a 2011 issue of Parent Inspiration for tips on how to give the amazing gift of a growth mindset to your child(ren), and be encouraged yourself!
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
"[Children] may take hold of several things, meet with a little discouragement, and give them up; and so they pass from one thing to another, perfecting nothing. ... A few words of encouragement, or a little help at the right time, may carry them over their trouble and
discouragement; and the satisfaction they will derive from seeing the task completed completed that they undertook will stimulate them to greater exertion." Ellen White, Child Guidance, p 128
"Praise the children when they do well, for judicious commendation is as great a help to them as it is to those older in years and understanding." Ellen White, Child Guidance, p 260
Gift of a Growth Mindset
Adventist Education is on a Journey to Excellence in North America: setting high standards spiritually and intellectually. Yet many children (and parents) believe that having to work hard or finding something difficult is a sign of lack of intelligence instead of an opportunity to learn and grow. There is great pressure to make things easy so children can get easy grades. One of the basic ideas in Adventist education is that, “Every youth should be taught the necessity and the power of application. Upon this, far more than upon genius or talent, does success depend. Without application the most brilliant talents avail little, while with rightly directed effort persons of very ordinary natural abilities have accomplished wonders. And genius, at whose achievements we marvel, is almost invariably united with untiring, concentrated effort.”1 Paul’s counsel in Colossians 3:23-24 encourages hard work in true perspective: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”
Today there is ample research that demonstrates that effort and the ability to meet challenges are more impor- tant indicators of success than natural talent. According to scientific research shared by Standford psychology researcher Carol Dweck, in her book titled Mindset 2, there are two basic ways that people think about intelligence. “Students who hold a fixed theory are mainly concerned with how smart they are—they prefer tasks they can already do well and avoid ones on which they may make mistakes and not look smart. In contrast ... people who believe in an expandable or growth theory of intelligence want to challenge themselves to increase their abilities, even if they fail at first.”3 When toddlers learn to walk it takes lots of practice and they fall a lot. But we don’t look at those falls as failure, instead we encourage the child to keep practicing and we praise them for trying.
It should be the same with learning. In fact if your child finds everything easy and can produce A grades without much effort, they are probably not being challenged enough and may not be developing the study skills and work ethic that will help them face challenges in the future. These children are often praised and told they are smart because getting the A was easy but then when faced with a subject or topic that is challenging they don’t know how to study and they give up. As Dweck observes, “We don’t want to make something done quickly and easily the basis for our admiration.”4 White notes that each person has the opportunity to become whatever he/she chooses.5 We are not bound by genetics, natural talent or natural weakness. Instead of avoiding areas of weakness, students can work to strengthen those areas.6 Students are not stuck with whatever level of intelligence they start with; intelligence can be changed.
So how can we help our children understand that challenges help them become better people and help them actually become smarter?
- In school work and other responsibilities, encourage your child to stick with a task and persevere. Don’t make excuses or blame teachers, curriculum, genetics, etc.
- Get the resources or tools your child needs. Extra tutoring (from you, a tutor, or their teacher); glasses, a good breakfast, adequate sleep, assessment for a learning disability, and showing an interest in what they are actually learning (not just look at grades), can all help.
- Praise hard work, motivation, process, and practice instead of only the final product. Avoid linking smartness to grades. “Instead of saying, you got an A, you’re so smart”, say “I am so proud that you worked so hard to learn this material. I know you did your best.”
- Model tenacity in the way you solve problems together, saying no to distractions yet remaining flexible in considering alternate solutions and praising creative effort to independent learning and success.
- Discuss what excellence looks like for a particular resposibility or assignment in a way that inspires effort to achieve what is envisioned now. A checklist developed together can provide structure that helps your child work smarter and experience success that builds positive attitudes to tackling future challenges.
For Further Study
- Mindset by Carol Dweck, Ballantine Books, 2007
Education by Ellen White, chapter 26
Ten Christian values every kids should know by Donna Habenicht, chapter 17 in Patience and Perseverance
1&6. Education by Ellen White, page 232
2. Mindset website mindsetonline.com
3. New study yields instructive results on how mindset affects learning by Lisa Trei, 2007 tinyurl.com/csdav8
4. Counsels on Diet and Foods by Ellen White, page 15
5. The Perils and Promises of Praise by Carol Dweck, Educational Leadership, 2007, Vol 65:2 pp 34-39 tinyurl.com/7mg6snq
Hot Lunch Wednesday - Spaghetti
Please watch for updates on our cleaning schedule.
Parent Teacher Conferences are January 11
Besides second quarter reports, Iowa Assessment results (October's achievement tests) will also be discussed at this conference.
Manton & Lake City Church Visit - January 23, 2015
We Are Learning
Weekly Memory Verses
Grades 5-8: Please see Homework Sheet (Scripture Squares).
Grades 5-8 may learn the verse in any version they choose. They may be asked to write their memory verses for the Friday test.
Topics and Themes
- Bible: Please see sheet (1-4); True Witness (5-8)
- Mathematics: For current topics and practice materials, please use links below.
- Spelling: Week 3 (1-4); Word Study Contracts and Spelling City (5-8)
- Reading: Comprehension and fluency strategies are learned and practiced as we read Charlie Horse (1-2), Summer of the Sharks (3-4), Door in the Wall and Eric Liddell (5-8). We extend our usage of these skills during our independent reading time.
- Writing/Grammar: Snow Haikus & Multigenre Research Paper (5-8)
- Social Studies: A New Nation - Beginnings (5-8)
- Science: Electricity (5-8)