Taking some time to discuss focus and perspective helps to elevate students' effort, collaboration, and result.
For example, this morning before students take a science test, I'll lend the perspective that it's always best to take your time and do your best. When you do your best, you find out what you can really do with a test like this and it's one way to determine what you know and don't know with regard to the test standards. It's good to get into the habit of taking your time and doing your best. I'll also lend the perspective of what it takes to do well on this particular test since strategies differ dependent on test structure and focus. This test requires careful reading, marking up the text, eliminating multiple choice answers that don't fit, choosing the best answer, and responding to open response questions carefully with detail, scientific language, and length.
On Thursday we'll have a meeting about perspective related to the fifth grade play. I'll give students' the audience perspective. First we'll talk about the fact that their acting and singing will entertain the younger students greatly. I'll tell them that they will bring the young children into the play scenes and heighten their imaginations. The young children will see them as actors and actresses, and if they can use good eye contact, clear-slow-expressive speak, and lively song, they will give a great gift to all the children in the school. Then as I speak of the audience of parents that will come at night, I'll remind them of how proud their parents are of them and how parents will be watching to see them perform with their best effort and enthusiasm. I'll remind them that no parent wants to see their child fooling around on the sidelines or not taking the play seriously--they look forward to seeing the best that students can do. These play perspectives will help students rise to the occasion of the wonderful fifth grade play.
After the play, I'll lend perspective about the biography project, a project where students each study a global changemaker past or present who inspires them. During this project children line up in chronological order based on the changemakers' birth dates. The children dress in costume, act in character, and share a number of learning projects including an "interview" with the famous person, a digital mini poster, and potentially a portrait too. I'll tell students that this project is a GREAT learning project for the whole school community, and that their ability to share their research through writing, costumes, and acting truly helps everyone to gain a better understanding of history and what it means to be a changemaker in a great variety of fields including science, the arts, government, medicine, and business. I will tell them that their good work on this project will serve to inspire younger children and adults alike. I know this perspective will help students to do their best work on the reading, research, and project work. It will elevate student effort.
Perspective matters a lot when it comes to any work or project, and when that perspective is shared with a group, it can elevate an entire team to support one another and do their best work. It's important to share perspective in order to set the stage for good work and effort for any big project or effort.
How do you share perspective with your students? Why does this matter? What would you add to this post?