Failing but Growing

Sep 14, 2014

Failing.  It is a scary (kind of frantic) feeling to me.  I want a fix and I want it right...NOW!

I know my kids are missing number sense.  I know it.  I see it.  They just don't have the flexibility and fluency with those numbers.  And it is something that I started to really focus on last year with number bracelets, dot cards, rekenreks (although I didn't know how to use one), and the list goes on.  But I know there is more to learn because the gaps are still there.  The fluency...not there. 

So what do I do?  Read.  I read, discuss, plan, talk, create, ask questions.  I did this all last year, all summer, and I will continue to do it this year.

But our guided math groups were in full force this week (minus some district testing).  I had some ideas on what I wanted to put into place this year.  I had this sense of urgency.  And you know failed.  The kids just did not quite get what I was trying to do with them.

The frantic feelings set in.

Then I sat down tonight.  I took a step back.  And I thought about what I know.  I can see where my short-comings were this week.  I can see that I jumped in with my clothes on!  And I forgot some other important steps.

Then come the negative feelings that I wasted time (insert many other things I was thinking)....but then I came across a post from Mrs. Meacham.  It reminded me of a speech that I heard years ago. The speaker explained that our brains get stronger with effort.  Not correct answers.  But effort.

The silly thing is...I KNOW this.  I didn't forget this speech.  I end each and every group with an "Effort Rubric."  Students rate themselves on how much effort they put forth. We actually talk about how their effort makes their brain stronger.

All of this talk to my students....and I forget to apply this same knowledge to myself.

But life is funny that way.  We get the reminders when we need them most.  Here is the article that Mrs. Meachma posted.  There is a video to accompany it.  One statement that really struck me in the article was this: "....praising someone’s process (“I really like how you struggled with that problem”) versus praising an innate trait or talent (“You’re so clever!”) is one way to reinforce a growth ­mindset with someone."

The article: The Learning Myth

 My brain grew a little stronger tonight.  Tomorrow is a new day and I am ready to put forth that effort.


  1. Your kiddos will get it! It is just going to take a little longer. What was the name of the book you read? I'd like to check it out.


  2. Thanks for a great reminder! Good luck with your kiddos--I know they will get there with you in their corner!!


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