This is my sauce pot- she has an argument for everything..... whether you like it or not. Her hands and her feet are going everywhere- Her focus is on everything, anything, and nothing- so long as it moves 100km an hour! She can drive you nuts if you don’t know her. She chats a mile a minute, involves herself in everyone’s business, and speaks her mind defensively & freely.
BUT she has a heart of gold. She is intuitive, interested, and eager to help anyone out. She sees good in the world.
Her focus has always been a challenge- she has lots of supports to keep her moving forward. But when she loves something, she sets her mind to it! This summer she has been biking (solo) from our house to her lessons- a few kilometres away (she bikes on the sidewalk, I shadowed her for many rides, and now I meet her there). This picture is of my girl biking now- it was struggle to get her to bike a few years ago. So many fights!!
BUT one day, she said take off my training wheels- ‘um, no! You don’t focus on peddling now!’. She made me- she wore me down. She is persistent! Guess what? The second she got on the bike, she took off. She could bike! She could really bike ✨ The girl who could not focus on the road in front of her and push the wheels around when using training wheels could just bike 2 minutes later with no support! ❓Why is that❓
- Obviously, she was just ready to go- the training wheels were not the support she needed (any longer?)
- I finally listened to her: instead of making her bike perfectly with the support, I let her go.... and she did it.
- I stopped viewing her lack of attention to the skill as a problem and I let her show me what she could do. She did it!
🌟The point is all of our kiddos need different supports at different times. All of our kiddos have areas that they need to work on and areas that drive us batty. However, we need to give them a chance to be an individual and express themselves. If they fail, help them out.... but sometimes they just might surprise us❤️
So many teachers put I CAN statements up in the classroom- amazing! These are powerful affirmations so kiddos know how smart, intelligent, and hardworking they are. The intention is a positive one.
However, what if you have children who fall outside of the curriculum norm? What if, you have a class full of diversity and your curriculum guides are just not reflective of your students....is it really such a helpful act to put up I CAN statements?
Most of us have a class full of individuals who are on their own learning journey- most students cannot be boxed into 'grade-level' expectations any longer. Our students come from different backgrounds, speak different languages, started school at different times, and most require different supports. When we think of normal for our class, we need to think of difference. Difference is normal. Students require different supports, some more than others. Our students will learn and express themselves at different rates, at different times, and in different ways.
Think about my girl- she could not focus on training wheels....so I held her back. I was never going to let her bike on two wheels until she mastered the training wheel. Except, she was never going to master the training wheel......her learning journey was 'different' on the bike. It did not follow the traditional tricycle- training wheels- bicycle route (for those doing the balance bikes....that was even more of a disaster in my house!). The point is we cannot outline a child's learning journey any longer. With so much difference around us, we have to be willing to think differently and teach differently.
Kiddos are still kiddos and they are amazing...they learn, the love, they have fun, and the grow. However, they do it in their way. We are their guides and their supports, we can no longer give them the exact route. When you think about I CAN statements (the intention is great) think about them differently. Do not use them to outline curriculum standards, but use them to outline expectations for the learning community. Keep the broad and use open language.