“Effort creates ability” is the big phrase at my school. I believe in it, I just don’t know yet how to teach it.
However, there is one little boy in my class who totally understands those words.
On Monday morning at centers time he was in the art center, copying another child who had taken some papers out of our big scraps box, and was cutting out the letter M (left over from M week). My guy tried and tried to cut out his M, but ended up slicing it to bits. I stopped by to help for a little while, and thought he’d gotten the hang of it.
I sat at my desk to take attendance, and next thing I knew, the little guy was in my arms, sobbing.
“What’s wrong?!” I asked.
“I…just…can’t…cut!” he wailed.
So I went back to the art table with him and this time I stayed, and he worked and worked until finally, he cut out a letter M.
By Wednesday when we were cutting out mittens and animals to put in the mittens (for Marvelous Mittens Day, of course), he was cutting like a pro.
I’ve been thinking about this child, and I realize that he understands that if he works hard to learn something, then he’ll be able to do it. When I taught the class the names and characteristics of the four seasons this week, he was paying attention, and now he’s the first to identify the seasons for me. A few months ago, he couldn’t write his name, and then his mom started working hard on it with him at home, and now he can write the whole thing.
Now, how to get that idea across to the rest of the class?