To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.
A budding third-grade scientist was required to record the
status of trying to light a lightbulb. Here's what he and his partner recorded: Status: Can't get it to work . . . Status: Still can't get it to work yet. Status: Still trying to get it to work. Status: This stinks. Status: It just did a spark. Status: This stinks. Status: We did it! Yay! Special thanks to Choice Literacy contributor Michelle Kelly
and her colleague Alicia for this gift in my inbox. The young scientists' status report is an accurate paraphrase
of my own coaching, parenting, or teaching notes. In the second observation, I
love how the word yet is included and then dropped after that point. By
the fourth status report, things have started stinking, and despair that they'll never
succeed sets in. Then there's a spark! Ah, but the spark dies quickly and it
seems that all is forlorn. Of course, that's when the bulb lights up. Yay!
Reframing despair as a "positive sign" instead of the "shape of
things to come" is not only comforting, but true. When I'm working with
teachers, I've learned to say "Good!" when they wail, "I can't do this anymore!"
Then I follow up with, "If you've made it to this place of despair, you are
already on your way out and you just don't know it yet." Each time they've
looked at me like I was a little crazy, but I subscribe to musical artist
Seal's belief that "We're never gonna survive unless we are a little crazy."
When my crazy statement becomes sane reality over the course of weeks or months
I hear back from them, "You know what? That was my breaking point. I had to get
to despair so I could be here." And so another light ignites.
This week we look at vocabulary instruction. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Franki Sibberson's new online course Text Complexity in Grades 3-5: Minilessons, Nonfiction Text Sets, and Independent Readingruns April 2 - 13. The course includes three webcasts, personal
response from Franki, a DVD, Franki's newest book, and many print and
video resources. For details on registering, click on the link below: