Anti-Bullying: The Validation Project

Founded in January 2013 by teen Valerie Weisler, The Validation Project is an international organization committed to uniting teenagers worldwide to use their unique talents to make their positive mark on the world.

They give teens:

  • volunteering opportunities according to their interests

  • leadership resources

  • connections with mentors in their desired field

  • recommendation for college

  • community service hours

  • proof that your age is not a barrier to make a mark

In addition to working with more than five thousand young people one-on-one, we also unite all our Validators through international campaigns. Our teens use their leadership skills and talents to implement ways to raise awareness and make an impact for a specific cause they’re passionate about. To date, we’ve raised $40,000 worth of items for people in need and raised awareness of 

  • domestic violence

  • bullying

  • homelessness

  • special needs 

  • advocating for equality

WHAT’S UP WITH US

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Everyone Was an Artist in Kindergarten

“A lot of this starts happening in the fourth grade,” …It’s not just a fear of failure, It’s a fear of being judged. Creativity is as much about the ability to come up with ideas as it is about the courage to act on those ideas… He calls it creative confidence.

Let’s keep creative confidence alive in the classrooms!

Read the complete article here: http://www.theatlantic.com/…/in-kindergarten-everyo…/373659/

Developing a Growth Mindset

The following article highlights a new approach that the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) is embracing.

In a mark-based school system, I believe this mindset could be healthy for children who don’t get all As.

“…Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?”

But when you start viewing things as mutable, the situation gives way to the bigger picture.

“This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments, everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

This is important because it can actually change what you strive for and what you see as success. By changing the definition, significance, and impact of failure, you change the deepest meaning of effort.

Check out the original article!

25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

Cited From: http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/develop-a-growth-mindset/#ixzz3Sh5XW24M

Toronto Star: Classroom Connection – What does social justice mean to you?

Teachers, if you are looking for an authentic purpose and audience for student writing, media or art, you may be interested in what the Toronto Star is launching below.  They will be releasing newspaper sets (similar to what they released on the wars at Remembrance Day, and what we received at networking) in the spring.

Classroom Connection: What Does Social Justice Mean to You? 

TEACHERS: This spring, we will be launching a new Social Justice activity workbook for schools in Canada.

We want YOUR students to help DESIGN the front cover
by answering the question:
What does social justice mean to you?

Schools play an important role in setting the tone for the ways people live in the broader community; and therefore are at the heart of social change.

Terms of entry

  • Submission must be made by a certified Canadian teacher
  • By submitting your entries you agree to allow Toronto Star Newspapers Limited to include your submission to form a word cloud, which will be used to create the front cover for our social justice resource to schools. There will be no compensation made for participating in this project. If space permits, the resource may list all the names of the schools that participated in forming the word cloud.

GRIT! What kids need to succeed.

This was one of the first things we read in my grade 8 classroom. It’s a great introduction to the learning skills.

There are two parts to this lesson for the first week of school. I like to start with the Globe & Mail Article:

Why Kids need to fail to succeed.

1. Ask kids what they think about the title. Start a discussion on that concept.  Have you ever failed at something? What did you do?

2. Have kids read and highlight the article: Crash, Burn, Achieve – why kids need to fail

The article is a challenging read, but we broke it down into it’s core messages

  1. Grit = Resistance, persistence, perseverance, stick-to-itiveness, and passion. IQ matters a lot in terms of what your freshman GPA is, but graduating from college has much more to do with character strengths like persistence, perseverance and grit. It’s that ability to deal with setbacks, because in college you’re always going to have setbacks – whether it’s not being able to pay a tuition bill, or not getting along with your roommate, or failing a class.

    • In chess, no matter how good you are, you lose about half your games. And even when you win, you’re making terrible mistakes all the time. So you have to figure out a strategy for dealing with failure.
      1. QUIT: So there are kids who, when they try to play chess and start to fail, they just decide, “Oh, I don’t really care about chess. I’m losing too much.”
      2. GET DOWN:  And there are those who beat themselves up about it. Neither group does all that well.
      3. GRIT: But a third group, which Ms. Spiegel tries to develop, is made up of kids who take their failures very seriously but divorce themselves from it a little bit; they say, “Okay, let me actually analyze the mistakes that I made: What can I do differently next time? ”
  1. If you want to develop kids’ self-esteem, the best way to do it is to praise everything they do and make excuses for their failures. But if you want to develop their character, you do almost the opposite: You let them fail and don’t hide their failures from them or from anybody else – not to make them feel lousy about themselves, but to give them the tools to succeed next time.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/back-to-school/why-kids-need-to-fail-to-succeed-in-school/article4513436/

Next, follow up with Angela Lee Duquett’s Ted Talk on Grit.

The Key to Success? Grit

http://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_the_key_to_success_grit#

I would follow up on this video with a free write: a time when you’ve failed, when things have been too easy, etc…

Take the Quiz

Do you have Grit? http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/back-to-school/grit-test-do-you-have-what-it-takes-complete-the-test-to-find-out/article4512454/

Set Goals

After this is done, I would lead into goal setting: for the week, month, year, 5 years, 10 years!  Tell them not to set goals that they THINK they will achieve, but goals in which they WANT to achieve, even if they think it’s too hard.  Perhaps that will be my next post, on goal setting.

Stay tuned!

Why Kids need to Fail in order to Succeed: Globe & Mail

This was one of the first things we read in my grade 8 classroom. It’s a great introduction to the learning skills. The article is a challenging read, but we broke it down into it’s core messages

  1. Grit = Resistance, persistence, perseverance, stick-to-itiveness, and passion. IQ matters a lot in terms of what your freshman GPA is, but graduating from college has much more to do with character strengths like persistence, perseverance and grit. It’s that ability to deal with setbacks, because in college you’re always going to have setbacks – whether it’s not being able to pay a tuition bill, or not getting along with your roommate, or failing a class.

    • In chess, no matter how good you are, you lose about half your games. And even when you win, you’re making terrible mistakes all the time. So you have to figure out a strategy for dealing with failure.
      1. So there are kids who, when they try to play chess and start to fail, they just decide, “Oh, I don’t really care about chess. I’m losing too much.”
      2. And there are those who beat themselves up about it. Neither group does all that well.
      3. But a third group, which Ms. Spiegel tries to develop, is made up of kids who take their failures very seriously but divorce themselves from it a little bit; they say, “Okay, let me actually analyze the mistakes that I made: What can I do differently next time? ”
  1. if you want to develop kids’ self-esteem, the best way to do it is to praise everything they do and make excuses for their failures. But if you want to develop their character, you do almost the opposite: You let them fail and don’t hide their failures from them or from anybody else – not to make them feel lousy about themselves, but to give them the tools to succeed next time.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/back-to-school/why-kids-need-to-fail-to-succeed-in-school/article4513436/

 

The Dangers of the Single Story: Chimamanda Adichie

This was one of the issues I started off my grade 8 year with: the single story.  To summarize, when you don’t tell your own story, you a) allow other people to tell it for you, or b) don’t get it told at all.

We  talked about “HIStory” and the lack of a “HERstory”, and how the winners, or those in power often get to write history. I think it’s a valuable video for getting students to feel empowered and to take action.  For example, if you don’t vote, then you allow others to decide your future for you.

Also, in writing, it reminds students to write from their own personal experience.

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

Inspired by Nigerian history and tragedies all but forgotten by recent generations of westerners, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels and stories are jewels in the crown of diasporan literature.