I have been thinking about mantras. What are the phrases you repeat to yourself? Are they positive or negative? Are you paying attention?
Within my group coaching program I am working on a higher level mantra this week. As I was listening to my coach this morning I was thinking about my mantras for school.
What do you repeat to students constantly? I am not talking about the behavior corrections here. What academic feedback do you give to students to encourage the behavior you desire in them?
My favorite phrase to tell students, especially when we are working on something new or difficult is:
I am the facilitator in my classroom. My students need to trust that what I am providing for them is something valuable. It has to be the right fit for them – not too hard, not too easy, just enough productive struggle. Students need to feel that I know what I am talking about. This is why I share my writing with students. I believe you cannot teach writing well unless you are a writer in some form yourself.
Several years ago I was talking to a colleague about writing prompts. She had expressed frustration about her students not writing well to the prompts she was giving to them. I asked her if she had provided a model for them. She had said no because she didn’t want them to copy hers. In the past, she had provided models only to have carbon copies of her piece come back to her.
We talked about the gradual release framework (I do, We do, You do) and then came back to the model.
She decided to write her own version based on the prompt. She gave herself her own assignment. Do you know what she found?
She had trouble writing the essay.
It occurred to her if she was in her 40’s and didn’t have enough experience to write a layered piece then 8,9 and 10 year olds would not be able to either. She had to change the prompts she was giving to her students. There would need to be changes to the actual prompt or scaffolding and some group research would need to happen first.
Sometimes we have to do the work first in order for it to be the highest good for our students.
I would love to hear about your mantras and beliefs from your classrooms!