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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Many of us struggle with trying to motivate students. Dr. Power's article on effort as well as those following have some great ideas and will cause educators to reflect. These are particularly pertinent for this time of year, as well as preparing for next year. Enjoy! Courtesy of Choice Literacy.




The Big Fresh Newsletter from Choice Literacy
May 10, 2014 - Issue #382
Benny

The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom.

                                                        Henry Ward Beecher
                                                             
When I was 16 years old my passion was playing my clarinet in the high school band, and my hero was Benny Goodman. Yep, in the mid 1970s while all the other 16-year-olds were listening to Deep Purple, I was bopping to "Sing Sing Sing with a Swing." That's some high level of geekitude in my teenage years.
In the fall of 1976 I discovered Goodman was going to do a concert in downtown Buffalo, not far from where we lived. By the time I heard about the concert it was only a few days away. (This was before everyone was on the Internet, so Benny wasn't tweeting and I couldn't friend him on Facebook to learn about these things in advance.) There were only a few standing-room-only tickets left. And that was all my family would have been able to afford anyway, because my dad had just started a new business and my parents had sunk their life savings into it. We'd never had a more frugal time in our family, but when I asked my mom if we could go she didn't hesitate, especially when she heard the seats were so inexpensive.
We went to the will-call window to pick up the tickets an hour before the concert began and the clerk said, "We just discovered we can add two rows of chairs to the orchestra pit. If you'd like to pay for an upgrade, we can give you two of those seats." 
I felt terrible for my mom because I knew we couldn't afford the upgrade, and I opened my mouth to tell her it was okay, I was just so happy to be there. At the same moment my mom said to the clerk, "Sure, I'll pay for the orchestra seats." It was incredible -- we were so close, we could see the sweat fly off his brow as he played. Benny Goodman quit touring not long after that, so it turned out to be my one chance to see him live. 
I always tear up a bit when I think of that concert, especially around Mother's Day.  The moments in a child's life when their passion is acknowledged and supported by an adult, especially when a sacrifice is involved, are the moments they carry with them forever.
It's probably appropriate that the last days of school are sandwiched between Mother's and Father's Days, even if these are only made-up holidays that were invented by greeting card companies. End-of-year school rituals -- creating keepsakes and taking field trips and celebrations -- are all time-consuming, sometimes exhausting, and involve no small sacrifice on the part of teachers. Why do we do it? Because kids will see the sweat on our brows, and they will know how much they mattered to us.
This week we look at student work ethic late in the school year. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Brenda Power
Founder, Choice Literacy


Free for All

[For sneak peeks at our upcoming features, quotes and extra links,  follow Choice Literacy on Twitter: @ChoiceLiteracy or Facebook:
 
Here are two features from the Choice Literacy archives to help you think about effort in fresh ways.
What does it mean to "challenge" skilled students? Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan consider the issue in Challenging Advanced Young Readers: Harder Texts Aren't Always the Answer:
"You can't expect any work from seventh graders after 2 p.m. -- it's a scientific fact." Erin Ocon hears these words from her student Aaron, and realizes she needs some new strategies for dealing with this resistant writer:
  
Katherine Sokolowski reflects on her blog about times when adults and children choose not to give their best effort:

 
Franki Sibberson leads the online three-week course Becoming a Tech-Savvy Literacy Teacher June 5 - 16. This interactive course includes three webinars, Franki's newest book, a professional development DVD, and an introduction to scores of resources on the web. For more details and to register online, visit this link:
Will you join us July 16-17 in Wrentham, Massachusetts for the Coaching the Common Core Workshop? The two-day event includes presentations by Jennifer Allen, Clare Landrigan, Tammy Mulligan, and Jason DiCarlo. For details and to download an informational brochure, click on this link:

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