A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

6 to 50: Get gold stars for 'plays well with others'...

How many of you remember paper report cards?

Southside first grade report card
Stolen from the interwebs...don't judge!

Stolen off the interwebs...you think I would show you mine from first grade!?

We do grading electronically nowadays, but I remember the grade card. Take it home. Get it signed. Spend an indeterminate time grounded so you could 'reflect' on the error of your ways and how to improve. Six to nine weeks later, rinse and repeat.
Today, we write comments and have a mandatory parent-teacher conference in the fall, but there are students for whom I want to institute paper grade cards. Not the kids you think. We spend a lot of time 'remediating'...struggling students need help and we give it. We can argue methods and effectiveness, but most students who struggle academically or socially are met with a plan by the time we hit conferences.
Its the other kids I want to send grade cards home to...the kids who play well in the sandbox or work harder for a B or C than some of my A students do on their papers/projects/homework. I do a mediocre job catching kids doing something right and telling them thank you and over the summer, I am putting a plan in place to fix that for next year.
What is we gave citizenship grades to adults? Here is the sixth thought prior to my countdown to 50:
Don't be an a**, think about the others around you before you ...
Case in point...movie theaters. We went to X-Men last night at the late show and the people behind us talked during the movie. Mostly they talked to each other about the movie and what was happening. At one point, they spoke a critical piece of dialogue right before the actor did. It was irritating. I looked behind me twice during the movie. You know, the unspoken signal that your actions are affecting other people. Think of it as a Canadian 'Shut up', if you will:
It worked until the climax of the movie when they couldn't hold back anymore. By then you do the social shaming math and decide it isn't work the drama to say anything for the last ten minutes of the movie.
They would not have gotten a gold star for 'plays well with other'.
I work with kids who live in the own personal fable. It is all about them and all others are secondary players in their epic Shakespearian masterwork. But they are 14 and part of my job is to help them grow out of it. I spend a lot of time throughout the year talking about John Locke and Social Contract Theory. Civics is all about 'plays well with others'.
I would argue that many of our institutions would get middling marks for 'plays well with others', but that is another blog post.
Self-interest has always been a part of our DNA-and that is alright. To quote another Marvel movie:
Pepper Potts: Is this about the Avengers? Which I know nothing about.
Tony Stark: The Avengers initiative was scrapped, I thought. And I didn't even qualify.
Pepper Potts: I didn't know that either.
Tony Stark: Apparently I'm volatile, self-obsessed, and don't play well with others.
Pepper Potts: That I did know.
But self-sacrifice for the benefit of others has always been a part of that DNA as well.
Have a great Saturday!

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