art, motivation, Personal Success

The Trick

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My doodle of daisies

If you’ve read Aesop’s fable, The Crow and the Pitcher, you know that the moral is “Little by little does the trick.”  My 5th graders read the fable and then were assigned a response: Give an example from your own life that describes this moral.

Here are a few responses:

  • “I got more flexible by stretching every single day, now I can do the full splits!”
  • “I practiced drawing every day and now I’m really good.”
  • “I saved up for an expensive video game by practicing piano every day (got paid $2 each day).”
  • “My mom used to be addicted to soda. Each day, she drank a little less. Now, when she has some, she feels sick.”
  • “We planted watermelon seeds and watered it every day. We got a watermelon!”
  • “I have played tennis since I was three. I play three to five times a week and I’m really good now.”
  • “It’s really hard for me to wake up in the mornings. When my alarm goes off, slowly, inch by inch, I move sideways to the lamp and turn it on and get out of bed.”

 

When can you do little by little to achieve your goals?

 

 

 

Personal Success

Moooo!

I assigned my 5th graders Powerpoint presentations on the early settlers (New England, Middle Colony, Southern Colony) and the rubric included a MAXIMUM of 5 words per slide.

“Ideally, you will choose an image that represents your topic for the slide – consider a primary source, such as a drawing – and then add key words that will remind you of the content for that slide,” I instructed.

 

“Five words? Only five words?” They asked.

“Yes. Key words to remind you of what to say.”

Because who wants to read paragraphs on a slide?

They went to work, buzzing like angry bees. This would require them to know the material very well.

The kids had a major cow over this.

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But they delivered expertly!

 

motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Persevere!

As a teacher, I have many different types of students:

talented, but not diligent,

talented and diligent, and

not naturally so talented, but diligent

I do not have any untalented and non-diligent students.

It is the diligent students who meet the most success. There really is no substitute for hard work, self-discipline and care. With facts and “knowledge” readily available at our fingertips (Internet), it is not “knowing data” that will lead to success, but knowing how to use that data and knowing how to interact with people that will lead to achievement.

Grit is proven day by day, hour by hour, and on a consistent basis.

What will you be dedicated  to – every day – in 2018?

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Drawing practice #55 – Lower right corner – acrylic paint is not so great on black ink.
Personal Success

Is That a Sheep?

I shared my drawing of llamas today with my fifth graders.

llamas

I got a rousing, “Not bad!”

 

For some reason, they loved yesterday’s 5 minute timed writing prompt:

“Describe how to drive your teacher crazy.”

Ahhhh. Kids.

 

Each morning, I open my drawing book, 20 Ways to Draw Everything. I make myself draw whatever is in front of me. I am always tempted to draw the easiest figures. I might start with the easiest, but I know that I will not get better if I stick to the simple ones. My initial goal was to draw all 20, but because I have only 45 minutes to draw before I go to work, I choose about six: a few easy, a few difficult.

It’s become my morning meditation.

motivation, Personal Success

Set Your Mind to It

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Photo by Annie Spratt

When I was five and my sister was four, our babysitter watched us coloring in our coloring books. Where my sister stayed within the lines, I colored slightly (OK, maybe not so slightly) outside the lines. “JoAnne colors nicely and Caroline needs to work on that a little bit.” Her sarcasm was not lost on me, even then.

This bit of criticism colored my world (pardon the pun!) “I am not a good artist.” This was just something I accepted for many years. But I’ve always longed to draw and paint. For someone with no formal art education, I think I am pretty OK. I think I can improve and I very much want to improve.

Thanks to Carol Dweck, we can all sigh optimistically now.

For eons, people believed in the “Fixed Mindset”  – that talents are innate and readily apparent; Believers assert that one should avoid mistakes and failures. In fact, if you find yourself failing at something, people who adopt the “fixed mindset” philosophy say you ought to just quit, because clearly, it’s not for you.

But Dweck, one of the leading researchers of motivation, discovered the truth about achievement and learning: The Growth Mindset. She says you learn from mistakes. You grow! Intelligence and talent are developed and in order to be successful, you must make mistakes. Clearly, this is true. The Wright brothers did not discover how to create a plane on the first attempt and Edison did not discover the light bulb on his first try, either. One needs to make mistakes to learn, grow and achieve.

Growth Mindset believers say “yet”  is the magic word. I can’t draw well yet, but with consistent practice and quality education, I will!

Check out her website: mindsetonline.com. It includes a test to determine where you are on the mindset continuum and ways to change it.

I’m going to start drawing lessons (free) on skillshare.com. Go Growth Mindset!