Monday, June 24, 2013

A Lesson in Commitment and Perservence

I recently read With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Women's Right to Vote, by Ann Bausum and thought about the MegaSkills  a system of character development that is used in my school district. MegaSkills are inner engines of learning, the vary basic attitudes and behaviors that determine a child's achievement in school and in life. We know that our children need basic skills to succeed...but for children to learn, and keep learning, they need a another set of skills that are taught at home. Throughout the school year  we focused on a particular skill of two. Teachers define and apply the skill in reference to students' interactions and relationships as well as to their school work and responsibilities. Awards for students who excelled in a particular skill are given once a month. I shared with my students how uncomfortable it made me to decide who would receive the award so they decided (in a class meeting) to nominate and vote for who would receive the award(s) each month. I also made a daily award  and would give about 4-5 a day. The award had a line where I wrote the MegaSkill and wrote the specific behavior they demonstrated. You never know the impact something like this can make in a student's life. One time at the end of the school year a had a boy (who had many difficulties and was identified as "at risk") mother tell me that he had hung all the awards I gave him on his bedroom walls. She told me it was the first time that a teacher recognized anything "good in him". I don't know if that is true, but it was their perception and those sincere awards (he had a record of specific examples of  him being worthy, that he mattered) made a difference in that child's life! At the end of each day for closure, instead of reviewing what they learned, they commended each other on a MegaSkill and the reason why that person demonstrated that skill. It went like this...For the good and welfare of room 13 I want to thank (name of student) for (the specific skill and how they demonstrated it).
History of MegaSkills
Dr. Dorothy Rich, the creator of MegaSkills, began teaching in the 1950's. During her years teaching she realized the important role of parents and learning at home to the success of children in school and life. Dr. Rich used this knowledge when she founded the Home and School Institute in Washington, DC. The Home and School Institute offered parent seminars called Success for Children Begins at Home and teacher trainings on building partnerships with families. The MegaSkills program became part of the Home and School Institute in the 1980's. MegaSkills focuses on building our children's love of learning through fun everyday experiences they shared with important people in their lives. This love of learning makes it possible for children to succeed in school and life. Dr. Rich passed away in 2009 but her very important work is carried on by many across the nation worldwide.
The MegaSkills:
Confidence: feeling able to do it
Motivation: wanted to do it
Responsibility: doing what's right
Effort: being willing to work hard
Initiative: moving into action
Perseverance: completing what you start
Caring: showing concern for others
Teamwork: working with others
Common Sense: using good judgement
Problem Solving: putting what you know and what you can do into action
Focus: concentrating with a goal in mind
Respect: showing good behavior, courtesy, and appreciation

No comments:

Post a Comment