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Magazine Issue 66: Challenge
December 2015

This month: Thoughts about Challenge

Article: Challenge
New Resources
Mike's Books
Additional Resources

This Month's Article:

Challenge

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Challenge A short Article about challenge, success, grit, flow and growth mindset.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Professional Development, Educators

Tags: Challenge Grit Mindset Flow Success
Challenge

Which one of these would challenge (has challenged) you the most?:

  • Delivering a 30-minute presentation to 50 strangers
  • Delivering a 30-minute presentation to 10 colleagues
  • Running 13 miles
  • Knitting a sweater
  • Learning to ski
  • Preparing a 4-course meal for 16 relatives
  • Installing a kitchen
  • Teaching 30 children for 190 days per year
  • Caring for a young/elderly/infirm relative
  • Keeping a healthy work-life balance
  • Singing a solo in public

Each one will present a level of difficulty to which you'll compare your assumed level of skill. You'll also have a gut reaction to each one: Do I want to/need to do that? I can do that; I can't do that or I can't do that yet. Then, if you embark on the challenge, your levels of motivation, determination, focus and resilience will emerge.

Flow
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (2002) tells us that when skill exceeds challenge we get bored but if the task is too hard for our current skill level then frustration sets in. When skill and challenge start to match up we are well on our way to the state he calls 'flow'. Flow has 8 more features on top of the challenge-skill balance. They include: having clear goals, immediate feedback and concentration on the task at hand. This idea developed out his research into happiness. Find out more:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h6IMYRoCZw

Mindset
Carol Dweck (2012) talks about self-belief and how the things we tell ourselves end up determining our eventual levels of success. With a fixed mindset we avoid failure, deny our mistakes and choose tasks with a high probability of success. We achieve less than we could - even if we achieve highly. On the other hand a growth mindset sees us learning from failure, exploiting our mistakes and attempting new and interesting problems with highly uncertain outcomes. In this case, we achieve more than we and others ever expected. Find out more:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElVUqv0v1EE

Grit
Finally, Angela Lee Duckworth presents us with 'grit': the characteristics that predict success more accurately than intelligence. With focus, determination and resilience, gritty learners can outperform their smarter, less gritty peers. Find out more:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H14bBuluwB8

Learning
Challenge in learning means testing our abilities in a demanding, stimulating and supported environment so that we can grow and change. Getting the right level of challenge for one pupil is a challenge in itself, never-mind for 29 others. But it isn't impossible and can be made a whole lot easier when you involve them in the process.

We need to design opportunities for our pupils to struggle and to help them understand that struggle is a good thing, a sign that we are learning. We want them to aim towards greater levels of achievement and support them getting there by teaching them about how flow, mindset and grit work. Then they'll have a powerful set of learning characteristics that will set them up for the challenges of life, work and their ongoing learning. Then they'll know that failure is not a permanent state.

The challenge of the unknown future is so much more exciting than the stories of the accomplished past. Simon Sinek

I like the challenge of trying different things and wondering whether it's going to work or whether I'm going to fall flat on my face. Johnny Depp


New Resources:

Lit Thinking

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Lit Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool for structuring analysis of Literature; especially suited to pupils not naturally drawn to this subject.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Analytical Thinking, Thinking Skills, English, Secondary

Tags: Literacy Analysis
Free Standard Member Resource: Login or Join for Free to access this resource and others.

Lit Thinking Powerpoint

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Lit Thinking Powerpoint A Thinking Tool Template in Powerpoint to help you easily create a range of Link Thinking activities.

Categories: Thinking Skills, Thinking Tool, Analytical Thinking, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Connections
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Values Think Sheet - Challenge

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Values Think Sheet - Challenge A Think Sheet with challenging thinking about challenge itself.

Categories: Think Sheet, Skills-Based Learning, Any Subject, Secondary

Tags: Challenge PSHE
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Big Present

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Big Present A Story about seeking the ultimate Christmas present and finding that it's not quite what was expected. Use the story to promote thinking about the meaning and messages of Christmas.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Find out more or Download now:
Categories: Story, IT, RE & Philosophy, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Christmas Big Data

Mike's Books:

Books to help you tell some stories:

Thinking Stories to Wake Up Your Mind
by Mike Fleetham

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Thinking Stories to Wake Up Your Mind <br>by Mike Fleetham A Book containing 27 original tales with follow-on currciulum-linked activities for Primary and Lower Secondary. Literacy infused with the full range of Thinking Skills inspired by Bloom's Taxonomy. Classroom tasks with photocopiable worksheets that will save you planning time and embed Thinking firmly into everyday lessons. 

Available in our shop

Find out more
Categories: Book & EBook, Thinking Skills, English, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Assemblies Bloom's Taxonomy Thinking Stories

Surprising Stories to Stimulate Creativity
by Mike Fleetham

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Surprising Stories to Stimulate Creativity<br> by Mike Fleetham The follow-on Book to Thinking Stories. 28 original tales with currciulum-linked activities for Primary and Lower Secondary. Literacy, Thinking Skills and Creativity are combined within engaging stories and tasks saving you planning time and ensuring rich curriculum coverage. Ideal for supporting a creative curriculum. Photocopiable worksheets included.  

Available in our shop

Find out more
Categories: Book & EBook, Creativity, English, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Assemblies Thinking Skills Creativity Creative Curriculum Thinking Stories

Additional Resources:

Thinking Classroom Archive:

Christmas Think Sheet

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Christmas Think Sheet A Think Sheet of Thinking Classroom ideas for looking at Christmas & Celebration in interesting and new ways.

Categories: Think Sheet, Thinking Skills, Other Subject, RE & Philosophy, Infant, Junior

Tags: Christmas
Free Standard Member Resource: Login or Join for Free to access this resource and others.

Snow Angels

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Snow Angels A Story with activities from "Thinking Stories to Wake Up Your Mind" in which Alfred the Snow Angel finds his style of doing things at odds with the other angels. Addresses bullying and learning styles. 

This is a Free Sample Resource

Find out more or Download now:
Categories: Story, Learning Styles, DT, Infant, Junior

Tags: Bullying Independent Learning Christmas Story

Alfred's Gift

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Alfreds Gift A Thinking Story with activities from "Surprising Stories to Stimulate Creativity" in which Alfred the Snow Angel finds himself banished to Earth and trying to find a place to stay. Addresses creativity and problem solving.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Find out more or Download now:
Categories: Story, Creativity, Other Subject, Infant, Junior

Tags: Snow Angels Christmas Story

Christmas Patchwork Thinking

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Christmas Patchwork Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool, a seasonal adaptation of the ever popular Patchwork Thinking. This example is in the original file but I've added extra activities and suggestions.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Creative Thinking, Thinking Skills, RE & Philosophy, Infant, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Christmas Story Patchwork Thinking
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Books:

Flow: The Psychology of Happiness
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Flow: The Psychology of Happiness <br> by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (2002) tells us that when skill exceeds challenge we get bored but if the task is too hard for our current skill level then frustration sets in. When skill and challenge start to match up we are well on our way to the state he calls 'flow'. Flow has 8 more features on top of the challenge-skill balance.

Available from Amazon

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Suggested Books

Tags: Flow Happiness Challenge Skill



Next month we think about... Inspiring Educators: Charlotte Mason