37 Comments

  1. Well put, George. I think it is important to differentiate "success for all" from "post-secondary education for all" I really believe that when kids (and adults) get in touch with their "raison d'etre", they will make a huge impact on the world, regardless of what their calling might be — teaching, dancing, caring for animals, writing, etc…. That is kinda what Identity Day is about, too, right? I think that when we create the culture in our learning communities where everyone, including the adults, has the opportunity to discover what it is that they live for and enjoy, we create spaces where students are more willing to take risks, try new things and find that special calling — Robinson's "element" – where passion and talent collide! Great post – thanks for sharing.

    Shannon

  2. I played a little game with our reading assessments. We use Reading A-Z and while their NF selections are't terrible the fiction is sooo dry. During independent reading today, I handed a few of my more advanced readers a relatively easy passage and told them to check in with me when finished and they could go back to reading their book. I asked the comprehension questions and they totally missed the inferencing and critical thinking pieces. Now, these are students that I've had plenty of in-depth conversations with. Conversations so rich I've walked away shaking my head. Afterwards, I told them I that little paper booklet was a reading assessment and it tells me that they came out "frustational" on a beginning 4th grade level. This did not sit well with them. I told them that I'd give them another chance tomorrow at the same level tomorrow.

    So today, I gave them another passage and this time they nailed it. I then told them the passage I gave them wasn't the "early fourth grade" but the "late fifth grade."

    I think I'm preaching to the choir when I reiterate the importance of engagement. I distain using "assessment" or threat-of as motivation. Success comes so much more naturally when we meet our students where their interest's lie. At our elementary school, we have the EMC program. Teachers create a course driven by their own interests and students choose what they would like to take. It's an amazing experience for all. I teach a course on creating documentaries and am consistently amazed with the higher-order thinking that goes on during this block. If you'd like to see more, I'm including a link to our first production about the EMC program.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/deerhill145?feature=m

    Thank you for putting this idea out.

  3. Tammy (@tdikeman)

    Success is measureable only in it's value. What is valuable to one may not be valuable to another yet is equally valuable to our society. Success is becoming the next Wayne Gretzky, the amazing guy that fixes my car when it makes those funny noises, the next Van Gogh, the very frustrated stylist who puts up with the damage I do to my hair, or the loving and engaged parent. The view of the education system has been far too narrow but there is a glimmer of hope in sight. Where we celebrate the beautiful gifts that our students bring to us, that enrich our lives on a social, emotional, musical, artistic, humorous or intellectual level. When schools grow beyond the percent as the determining factor we will see success for all.

  4. Thanks for this post, George. Asking the question, "What's your definition of success?" is the very question we must ask of all those we serve. It is, after all, about realizing that each person's definition is their own. Their very own. And our challenge as educators is to help them discover it.

  5. Neil Ringrose

    I believe that success is finding your 'thing', you love, your passion. It's why you wake up in the morning. It isn't always one thing, it can be a combination. I am truly thankful that I found mine in my work (being and sharing learning and the excitement that comes with it) and my home life (wonderful family).

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