Hi Fabulous Pad Scrappers!
Polly Liana here, hoping you’re having a great week. I’m here today with a quick blog post directed mostly to the many participants of our Month of Challenges (MOC) 6 here at the Lilypad. You’re now about a third of the way through the month and I thought you might need a pep talk.
I’ve been teaching kindergarten to students in disadvantaged areas for nearly a quarter of a century so I’ve learned a thing or two about challenges and encouragement. One of the main things I tell my students right off the bat every year is that my job is to give them hard work to do. If things feel easy, they’re not really learning anything. Sure, it’s really nice to complete an easy task but if your goal is to learn something, you’re going to have to struggle at least a little. But they know I’ll be there to support them when things get tricky– that’s my job. I also teach them that they’re not going to like everything I teach them but every once in a while the learning is in practicing an important skill rather than the engaging with the content.
When I think about those same ideas with regard to MOC, I see a lot of connections. There was one challenge in particular that really gave a lot of scrappers a run for their money. On day 6, Jan introduced us to the dispersion technique. As I followed the posts on Saturday, I saw lots of participants initially respond with apprehension, concern and LOTS of coffee. Even though Jan provided some great tutorials, I could see that some folks were still feeling challenged and confused. Like my classroom of students, it was fascinating to watch how different people reacted to the struggle. Some jumped right in, others asked for help and others expressed their frustration. Some took breaks, others did not leave their computer until they had completed the challenge.
As the day went on, I watched two really magical things happen in that thread. Sidelined by software programs that couldn’t quite complete the task, people began to think outside the box. They became creative and inventive. Ingenuity flowed. Barriers were broken and sidestepped. The other thing that happened was that many people jumped in to help each other. When one person reached out with their struggle, others posted very detailed solutions that had worked for them. When people contemplated throwing in the towel, the community stepped up to support and encourage them to stay in. I watched participants who were initially at their wit’s end turn out really wonderful layouts with beautiful dispersion in the photos.
Every day in my classroom, I have students who are challenged. Challenged by math, reading, making friends, everyday life. They respond to their struggles in many different ways, some that are more productive and positive than others. Surviving and persevering through those struggles is undoubtedly going to strengthen them further in the long run. The feeling of success is a powerful thing. So is the feeling of a supportive community. My students thrive when they push through something hard, with their strength and the support of their peers and teachers. Sailing through life has never builder of strength.
So as a teacher, my hope is that this month will really challenge you as a scrapper. That we will hand you difficult tasks and new skills that make you sweat & get you out of your comfort zone. It will feel unpleasant and frustrating at times but that’s where the real growth happens. That’s why they’re called challenges. Work through them. Ask for help. Reach out with your struggles. And if something happens to be easier for you than others, help them out. This is not a competition, it’s a team sport. You’re not going to like everything we ask you to do but our hope is that along the way, you will pick up skills that will strengthen the parts of your scrapping that you do like. Remember whatever it is that motivated you to participate in the first place. Keep that in your mind. Here’s a great thread that has some good suggestions about to keep from falling too far behind.
As always, I am so honored to be a part of such a powerful and supportive community of learners. The layouts you are creating through MOC are just phenomenal. Keep your chin up and stay with it! xoxo