Educators, how’s your level of communication with the parents/guardians of your students? How much energy are you spending on the VERY important piece of the puzzle that helps students learn? Engaging parents is challenging. When parents are engaged,…the likelihood of their student’s success drastically increases! Mr. Bowlin, 4th-grade teacher at Saint Mark’s School in St. Paul, shares this week’s letter coupled with a great image/tool to help engage on the home front!



Top 20: L.E.A.R.N.I.N.G.

We wrapped up our month long Top 20 unit on “Mistakes” with a recap on the role mistakes, challenges, and confusion play in the learning process.  In small groups, students came up with a formula or directions for someone that desires to become a great learner.  It was exciting to see that many of their ideas touched on our dialogue throughout the month.  Several groups talked about the importance of exploring the Courage Zone, learning to enjoy the battle with confusion, working through mistakes to gain understanding, and developing Star Qualities by challenging oneself.

We looked at the following acrostic poem to sum up the critical elements in the process of becoming a great learner.

Leave your comfort zone

Embrace confusion

Appreciate the struggle

Resist the fear of failure

Note your mistakes

Intentionally develop Star Qualities

Never give up

Gain understanding

Learning content in elementary school is important, but it should be looked upon more as a platform to develop a passion for lifelong learning.  When a student commits to embracing confusion, resisting the fear of failure, practicing perseverance, and seeking out ways to be challenged, it shows an understanding of what it takes to be a learner.

It was a fun month as we worked together to transform how we view some uncomfortable aspects of learning.  We will transition quickly to looking at The Frame but I am confident we have been inexplicitly practicing this during our unit on “Mistakes.”  When we change the way we see mistakes, confusion, and challenges and choose to look at its potential benefits, our end result is arguably the development of the greatest skill of all; becoming a great learner.  It is a skill that we will use the rest of our lives.  “Never stop learning because life never stops teaching.”

-Mr. Bowlin