I find the recent interest in assisting our students to develop “grit” and a “growth mindset” very perplexing. Is it because of the Common Core Standards and the struggles that many students are facing that some are giving up? Have all those years of giving Johnny a gold star for effort and Jill the same gold star for excellence backfired on us? One day we are teaching that reading opens up a world of imagination and creativity, and the next we are bombarding our students with close reading, analysis, and textual evidence. One day twenty plus two didn’t involve subtracting ten from thirty, standing on your head, and explaining the meaning of the Gettysburg Address in Pig Latin.
Years ago in our agrarian society, our forefathers and subsequent pioneers learned that giving up meant the difference between food on the table and starvation. But today the sense of urgency is gone. The belief that one needs to be responsible for his or her actions, that most things are worth waiting for, and that hard work begets success has been left at the wayside. Society now to glorifies the outcome (“Check out my new iPhone!”) while ignoring the process (Steve Jobs had been tinkering with this technology years before we even knew we wanted it).
I’m so glad that my children attended nursery school and preschool. If they hadn’t, they would have missed out on visiting the local farm to plant seeds, watching chicks hatch in their classroom incubator, and reading a book for fun. Learning took time, but it was enjoyable and meaningful.
Instead of merely discussing the concepts of “grit” and a “growth mindset” to our students, we need to provide them with safe and nurturing environments where they have the opportunity to fail. And to learn from their mistakes. Learning is a process, and each step brings us closer to our goal. Sometimes we don’t even reach our original goal, but it is how we have changed and developed along the way that is the true essence of learning.
For a true testimony to children's perseverance, check out this link about some crazy ways students have to travel to pursue their education: http://buzzstopp.com/2015/07/11/20-craziest-ways-kids-risk-their-lives-to-get-to-school/. These photos bring new meaning to the old saying "back in my day."
Kristina A. Holzweiss
Ed Tech School Librarian
Bunhead With Duct Tape
PRAISE FOR "HACKING SCHOOL LIBRARIES"
"Hacking School Libraries is the practical book that I have been waiting for a teacher-librarian to publish! This is the book I will be recommending to school librarians who want constructive and attainable suggestions on how to not only transform their library space, but also their library practices and in turn, their school. The stories and ideas from Stony, Kristina, and other respected colleagues in the school library world spotlight tried-and-true practices that have transformed school library programs across the nation."
"I really like the quick reading style and the focus banners for each hack. This is a very useful guide for new school library professionals or those thirsting for easy, practical, and inexpensive ideas to revitalize their school libraries. My highest praise is that it's written by practitioners FOR practitioners."
The book is clear and understandable and helps put their "hacks" into perspective by introducing a problem and possible solution. I especially like the "What you can do tomorrow" section and even though I am not a new librarian, I plan to incorporate some of these ideas tomorrow!
"WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK IS THAT IT BREAKS EVERYTHING DOWN INTO MANAGEABLE SECTIONS. IN THOSE SECTIONS YOU ARE GIVEN SUGGESTIONS FOR WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY! SUCH AN IMPORTANT RESOURCE ESPECIALLY AS MEDIA SPECIALISTS ARE ALWAYS STRUGGLING TO STAY RELEVANT. THIS BOOK REALLY HELPS!" - CATHY CASTELLI
"THANK YOU! THANK YOU FOR SEEING INTO WHAT WE ARE AND OUR MISSION! WELL WRITTEN AND GREAT IDEAS THAT SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS! I LOVE THIS RESOURCE!" - CAROL EVERHART CRITCHER
"THIS BOOK IS INVITING, WELL-ORGANIZED, AND CONTATINS IDEAS THAT ARE EASY TO IMPLEMENT. WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? FROM THE SKETCHNOTE-LIKE ICONS ON THE COVER TO THE CLEAR TABLE OF CONTENTS, THIS INFORMATION IS ON THE RIGHT track for school librarians. no offense to phd candidates, but i'd rather read something that gives me quick usable ideas i can use right now than someone's research dissertation on learning commons model. i have students to help, teachers to collaborate with, and a million other things I am juggling and trying to keep in the air at the same time. - CHARITY S. HARBECK, School Library Media Coordinator/Digital Literacy Coach at Franklinton High School in Franklinton, NC
PRAISE FOR KRISTINA'S WORK
"I am super excited to learn about both high tech and low tech ways to promote literature.
I feel that over the years, I lost myself and my students with the primary focus always being on research. I want to go back to book talks and making library enjoyable (again).
Thank you for your inspiration!"
- Cara Lauber, library media specialist
"Kristina is a librarian's librarian!"
- Ali Schilpp, 2018 SLJ School Librarian of the Year
"Kristina is an engaging guest speaker who offers rich and varied approaches for participants to take part in and contribute. My graduate students leave the classroom feeling motivated, excited and ready to put their learning into practice in their own classrooms."
Dr. Karen Megay-Nespoli, Director of the Literacy and Cognition Graduate Program,
St. Joseph’s College, Patchogue
"i have followed kristina holzweiss on social media for many years. she's always on the cutting edge of the newest tools and activities in education. she was one of the first school librarians i saw who had her students using flipgrid, breakout edu, bloxels, and so many other great resources. i am awestruck by her ingenuity and her passion for helping students and educators thrive. i also appreciate her ideas for empathy and diversity." - tonya fletcher