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May 18, 2017

A Top 20 Teacher Shares his Weekly Letter to Parents/Guardians! Entry #14

This week’s communication (sent home to the parents/guardians of Mr. Bowlin’s 4th graders) takes a serious look at the many ways they’re SMART. Do your students or children know how they’re smart? Have a read and let them know!

Top 20: Know How We’re Smart

Growth mindset is continuously becoming a more and more popular concept in schools throughout the country. With the help of our Top 20 curriculum, our 4th graders are learning to embrace the idea that our brain, our intelligence, our skills, and our learning capacity can constantly improve if our approach to effort, challenges, mistakes, and feedback are directed toward becoming the best we can be. Our mindset is the first indicator of our success. If our thinking is working in our best interest by reminding us that we can grow as learners, our intelligence will grow. On the contrary, if we have the belief that our skills and abilities are limited or fixed traits, our approach to learning won’t allow us to maximize our potential.

During the month of May, we will recap all the ways in which we know how we’re smart and our limitless capacity to learn and acquire more skills. Additionally, we will develop an understanding that our brain is like a muscle and to strengthen it, we must exercise it. With a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset, we understand that mistakes challenge us to grow as learners and that our work ethic fuels our ability to increase our intelligence. Throughout the school year we have discussed roadblocks or obstacles to becoming the best version of ourself. Through challenges and struggles, our mindset becomes an essential indicator of what lies ahead. When we fill our minds with positive beliefs about future outcomes, our likelihood of success increases dramatically. Over the course of the year, we’ve added positive mantras in the face of obstacles that we can use to overcome the temptation to fall into a fixed mindset. It is critical that our students understand that a growth mindset is what will help them succeed in all facets of their life. Our fourth graders know:

“In order to be a great learner, you need to be a great listener.”

“It’s just an illusion…climb the Mountain of Confusion.”

“If you’re furious, get curious.”

“That’s an OPO… and I can let it go.”

“The feelings of NGE… are not for me.”

“Mistakes are great and confusion rocks.”

We will continue to explore our capacity to learn and grow throughout the final month of the school year. Our challenge is going to be believing we can be smart in many different ways when it is sometimes tempting to revisit the ones we are already best at and most comfortable with. A Top 20 has a great understanding of his/her own strengths and weaknesses and is determined to continue to keep the strengths sharp while diligently looking for way to improve the weaknesses or unfamiliar skills. These new or struggling areas could eventually become areas of strength if we have the awareness to put our EQ and Star Qualities to work.

 

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