You've probably heard at least some talk on the importance of grit in our schools. I feel like there will be at least someone who is absolutely done with hearing the word grit. (Sorry.) But I found something out this week that will hopefully put the term grit into something a little more concrete.
This week, I had the opportunity to hear Jim Grant speak at my school. He gave a really great speech on the importance of grit in classrooms today. During that speech, he pointed out something that I found fascinating. I consider it the foundation of grit!
This is not exactly how it was presented, but here's what he pointed out:
Self-determination fosters perseverance, which increases effort.
This means the foundation of grit is self-determination.
I got to thinking about it, and it makes sense to me. I think of the word determine as a synonym for decide. In that case, self-determination can be thought of as the ability to decide for oneself. This means no one else influences the decision. If you have self-determination, you decide what you are going to do. Now that you are in control of your decisions, make the decision to stick with the task ahead and show perseverance. In order to show perseverance, however, it will require effort in sticking with it. So in order to have grit, you have to have the self-determination to decide to stick with the task at hand.
Great. So how do we foster self-determination in our classrooms? One thing that could be done is to focus on goal setting and getting your students to actually complete that goal using 5-10 minute conferences. The hardest part of setting goals is sticking with your goals, even when it gets tough. Kinda sounds like grit to me. You could also practice ways to overcome obstacles in order to finish a goal, even if it means to finish homework, such as practicing how to ask someone for help instead of giving up or having a discussion on why people don't finish what they start and figuring out what to do differently.
Don't forget that students look up to you, too. Tell your students a story about a time when you had trouble finishing something and what you did to overcome it. Make sure that you set an example for your students to follow every day, even when it gets tough. (Teachers need grit, too!)
What do you think? Is there something else that would be essential in fostering grit? What other ways could you incorporate self-determination into your classroom?
Have a great edventure! ~Sierra
Just an FYI, I am just a fan of Scratch. I am not getting paid to say anything.
For Christmas, I sent out a Christmas "card" to my Twitter followers that I made with Scrach (misspelling shown below, don't forget to look for mistakes in your Tweets before you tweet them out!), and I mentioned having a tutorial out relatively soon. Well, here it is! (And let me know if you know how to embed Tweets, I would love to know!)
So here is my tutorial of Scratch that I have divided by section. I have the projects embedded into this post, but if they don't work, just click on the links in the titles.
Here are some terminology that you may need to know (in no particular order):
Project: ex. my Christmas card
Sprite: character in the project
Script: what the sprite does
Costumes: different looks for the sprite
Block: script part
When you click on the links, the green flag starts the project (like a play button), and you can even look inside to look at the scripts that I used by clicking "See Inside" (which I encourage you to do).
This section defines how your sprite moves. You can change where your sprite is located or you can rotate your sprite.
Here, you can choose what the sprite says or thinks, change the size or color of the sprite, or change the backdrop.
This is where it gets fun. You can play sound effects, music loops, and instrument sounds. You can also change the volume and tempo of the sounds.
This is one of the new things that I learned for this post. This is where you can draw with your sprite. I have yet to perfect this, but if you figure it out, let me know how you did it.
There are two sections to this. This is another one that I have just learned and I have not quite perfected this yet.
List: I used the list as suggestions for how to greet someone.
Variable: I set this up as a quick game, with the variable being the score.
These things are what start each script. For this project to work, press the spacebar after you click the green flag.
This is where you can better define when you want the action to occur or the sound to play, etc. Here, you can make a block "wait" before the next action, you can create clones of the sprite, you can repeat a block or set of blocks, you can add if/then statements, or you can stop one thing or the entire thing. Click on the sprite, then press the spacebar for a ton of cats!
This is an interactive project. For the most part, this is the "if" of the if/then statement. Use the arrow keys to move the sprite around and look for a couple different messages. Hint: near the poster and near the mirror.
Most of the operators will give you some number from whatever you give it. It depends on which operator you use. I used a few of them in this project. This will make more sense if you click "See Inside" and look at the scripts.
Here is where you can make your own block to define and use in your project, in this case the jump action. Also, if you have PicoBoard or LEGO WeDo, this is where you can find extensions to go along with those.
So that is my tutorial for how to use Scratch. Feel free to share some that you have made. All of these pieces are interconnected, so you cannot truly separate these components. Keep in mind that you don't have to use all of these to create a great project; in fact, you can do whatever you want to with Scratch. The possibilities are endless!