Monkeying Around

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Daily Painting Challenge – #12

This painting is highly imperfect. The face seems to be floating around, detached. The fur is stiff and square. Painting it was not as fun as painting the hedgehog and it shows. The process reminded me of this quote:

Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.

Mary Tyler Moore

Some pieces will be better than others. I love watching August Wren (Creativebug.com) paint because she talks out loud and often laughs at her mistakes.

 

 

Self-Advocate

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Daily Painting Challenge (#10)

Listening to Oprah’s podcast with will.i.am, I was profoundly impressed with him not only as a musician, but as an education proponent. His i.am.angel foundation brings STEAM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs to under-served communities. This foundation has also awarded over $800k in scholarships and 97% of these students are the first in their families to go to college.

Will echoes Milton Berle’s sage advice:

If a door closes, build a new door.

This reminds me of something that happened a few weeks ago, when I was reading the Red4Ed message board. A school bus driver wrote: “Are you guys (teachers) demanding a raise and better benefits for us classified staff?” 

I see way too much self-medicating and not enough self-advocating these days. Don’t ever assume someone is looking out for you. You’ve got to do the heavy lifting yourself. Exercise your rights. Vote. Do something with what you have.

If you go by the usual quote, “When one door closes, another opens,” it assumes you will just wait for another one to open. When you build your own, it won’t ever close.

will.i.am

5,000 Hours

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Click to hear her play

 

Malcolm Gladwell estimates it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to be world class at a skill. 

But a new study destroys that rule.

In any case, we’ve estimated that with regular practice, rehearsals, competitions and school orchestra, the girls have at least 5,000 of deliberate practice under their belt. 

In nearly nine years of playing, the girls have not once said they want to quit. I attribute that to the fact that they only play violin – they do not do any other extracurriculars. The upsides of “being good” at something are: self-confidence, self-discipline and optimism! 

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Click to hear her play

 

Slow and Sure

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Snail doodle

Tonight, our school will hold an Awards Night to recognize students for exceptional GPAs, Service Work and other academic accomplishments.

Not one student will receive recognition for work achieved in a day or a week. These kind of successes require dedication throughout the school year.

 

 

A Force to be Reckoned With

John Force is an NHRA drag driver. He has over 144 victories and is a major player in his field.

As a child, he overcame childhood polio. As a young adult, he raced for twenty years and failed so miserably that he became the butt of jokes.

But he never gave up.

Most of us attempt something a few times and throw in the towel after a few failures.

What are you passionate about? Can you endure hundreds of fails? Public mockery? If you enjoy the process, (the learning and growth) instead of focusing on the end game, it takes care of itself.

“How Children Succeed” (Con’t)

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Mini Bell Peppers (2 peppers = full day  of Vitamin C!)

Here is a continuation of my notes on Paul Tough’s research regarding “grit, curiosity, and the hidden power of character” as it pertains to children:

  1. Grit  p. 74

“Duckworth realized self-control has limitations. She believed that a passionate commitment to a single mission and an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission are more relevant when it comes to inventing something new or creating an award-winning (movie)/project. She called this characteristic grit.”

She created a 12 (now 10) question survey that turned out to be a remarkably accurate predictor of success.

It was more accurate a predictor of graduation rates for West Point than their own assessments.

  1. Quantifying Character

Levin, Randolph, Seligman and Peterson narrowed a set of strengths that were indicators of life success and happiness:

  • Grit
  • Self-control
  • Zest
  • Social intelligence
  • Gratitude
  • Optimism
  • Curiosity

They then created a “character report card”

Much confusion among educators regarding “character” – is it moral? Is it “performance character?”

  1. Affluence

Wealthy families may have “helicopter” parents (parents who hover over their kids as they do homework, sports, etc) but that does NOT mean they are spending quality family time together. In fact, many high-achieving, wealthy families are not closely bonded.

  • Madeline Levine, psychologist in Marin County, says that wealthy parents are more emotionally distant than any other parent from their children
  • Intense feelings of shame and hopelessness in their kids
  • Levine was inspired by Suniya Luthar, psychology professor at Columbia Univ who did a comparison study between low-income and high-income households.
  • Found 22% of wealthy kids suffered elevated rates of depression and clinically significant symptoms
  • 35% of affluent kids tried all four substances (alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana and harder illegal drugs
  • 15% of poor kids tried all four
  • Dan Kindlon, assistant professor of child psychology at Harvard, also found an emotional disconnect between wealthy kids and their parents
  • These parents were overly indulgent in their children’s bad behavior
  • Parents making more than $1 million said that they were far less strict than their own parents
  • A little hardship – discomfort – is good for children!
  • This is an issue in private schools – telling parents they are not parenting properly means you are criticizing your employers (clients)
  • A school like Riverdale (expensive, private – graduates include Chevy Chase, Carly Simon, etc) is not meant to help raise the ceiling, but to raise the floor = give kids a high probability of nonfailure.
  • They do not develop grit

 

  1. Discipline  p. 86

KIPP used to practice a lot of disciplinary action (some of which Levin regretted)

SLANT – stand up, listen, ask questions, nod, and track – taught at KIPP 5th grade

Code-switching – you must learn and practice proper behavior for the museum, college interview and nice restaurants

Rich kids at Riverdale wear casual clothes and slouch

Kids at KIPP are taught to have good posture and track teachers…formal speech

The administrators of both schools disagree on this point – what should students be taught?