Hello everyone and happy 2017! I hope you had a relaxing and awesome break from school. The start of a new calendar year is one of my favorites because I dearly love to set goals and make plans for the future. Of course, goal-setting is a frequent topic in my classroom, too. However, I’ve learned over the years that reaching a goal takes more than simply having one. You also need the focus of today’s post – grit. I was first introduced to the idea of grit after reading Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why by Paul Tough. It was further reinforced when I read another book this past summer by Angela Duckworth called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Check out her TED Talk about this very topic:
It Takes Grit!
Aside from a strong foundation in academics, one of the core values in my classroom has always been the power of perseverance. I even have one of those cheesy motivational posters with “perseverance” in all caps hanging in my classroom. However, as we all know, grit isn’t something you can put on a poster and check it off your list. You need to expose students to the concept over and over again in a variety of contexts. I started the school year off by creating individualized name tags for their desks, each with its own “gritty quote.”
One of the many routines and procedures I taught students early in the school year was how to say a Grit Cheer. This simple cheer is another way I help my students internalize the idea of having grit as a personal value. Cheers, rhymes, and chants are easy to learn, and easy to remember. They’re fun to say, and doing it with a group also builds a strong, positive community. Now it’s not uncommon for students to remind and encourage each other to have grit in the face of a setback. Now that’s inspiring!
Since I don’t believe in making everything my students use all by self, I purchased a set of these great growth mindset posters from Sam Van Gorp. These posters adorn our class door and make a great starting point for a class meeting discussion topic.
One resource I did decide to make was a poster/coloring page and a set of bookmarks. My kiddos are always asking for a bookmark (love it!) so I created this simple set to share with them. It’s black-and-white so they can add their own colors to it if that’s their jam. I absolutely LOVE talking about grit during our weekly class meetings, even if we have another “main topic.” Simple questions like, “Can anyone share an example of when you showed grit recently?” are an easy way to reinforce the quality of grittiness with your students.
Don’t do class meetings? No problem. Look for examples of grit in your reading stories and/or read-alouds. However you decide to weave in this quality as part of your classroom culture, click on the links below for ideas and free resources to get you started. Happy teaching!