Monthly Archives: February 2019

A Slice From my chair

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

 

From my chair (which is actually the nook of the couch) I see
Finnegan’s head popping up from my leg –
He’s just noticed the neighbor’s new puppy, Gus on a walk.
He will jump up any second, I think.
I can see Gus too.
But the light is getting dim out there.
The blinds should be closed by now.

From my chair (which is actually the nook of the couch) I feel
The heat of the fireplace –
I love to watch the flames, even out of the corner of my eyes.
I will turn it off soon, I think.
I can hear the sound of the fan too.
But it’s getting a little hot in here.
The fire should be off by now.

From my chair (which is actually the nook of the couch) I hear
The boys talking –
About bickering, “you can talk about bickering without bickering.”
I am told this as I type.
I can hear the oven beep too.
But I haven’t made the rest of dinner.
I should have fed my children by now.

From my chair (which is actually the nook of the couch) I see
Finnegan back on my leg –
Sleeping after his big adventure looking out the window.
I will have to move him soon.
He is all snuggled in too.
But I have to turn the fire off
And I need to feed the children now.

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A Slice of Positive Feedback, please

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

In the car, we talk about quitting karate.  He tells me he doesn’t understand why the karate teachers can’t start from the positive and then help him get better. “Why can’t they say, ‘You are doing that kick great! Now let’s work on this other kick?'”

“Actually,” I say, “You are kinda describing a teaching philosophy where you teach from areas of strength. Jennifer Serravallo says –”

“Is that the one with the dark curly hair that wrote the books you love?”

I just nod. Yep. That’s the one.

“Why do they have to say you are on the test list, or you aren’t on the test list?”

I just shake my head, “I don’t know…”

“I mean, couldn’t they just say, ‘The test is on this day.” Then I’d be motivated. It’s so un-motivating to be told all the things I’m doing wrong. Why would I want to try?”

“You are really motivated by positive feedback.” I say, and he nods his head.

“Can I write about this in my blog?” I ask him.

He wonders why, and I try to explain that I think a lot of kids are motivated by positive feedback. And then I wonder, who isn’t?

I’m lost in thought. A few years ago I deliberately changed my teaching language. I started saying things like “I’ve gathered you today because your work in this is awesome, and you are ready for this next great thing!” When I first started, I thought kids would see right through my language switch. What I didn’t count on was that they saw right through my language switch to the very core of what I was doing —  knowing what they could do, and believing in them. Starting from a strength makes a kid smile, it makes them sit up a little straighter, believing in themselves. In karate, it might make them kick higher, practice more, or even not quit.

“Okay.” He says. “You can write about this.”