March 11, 2015 Day 11 Slice of Life Challenge

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Yesterday I met with a student for a reading assessment, a quick running record and a comprehension check to see if she was moving along in her reading. Before we started the assessment I started the typical conversation I have with a student about reading.  This conversation is full of open ended questions related to reading and writing.  Typical questions include:

  • What book are you reading right now? How long have you been reading it? How long will it take you to finish it?
  • What books do you want to read?
  • What are you working on in reading, what goals do you have for yourself?
  • How are you working toward that goal?
  • How long do you read (or how many pages) at school//home?
  • What do you like about reading?
  • What is hard about reading?
  • What do you want to improve in reading?

During this conversation it became clear that this otherwise outspoken, silly firecracker of a girl had an entirely different identity when it came to her reading.  Her answers were quiet and lacking any of the energy she has in her interactions with her peers.  Right now reading is not an area of confidence for her.  This was clear.  She answered the questions and had a conversation with me about how her reading level probably went down, she does not like to read and how she does not really read. Overall it was a downer of a conversation, sort of apathetic to the whole reading thing.  She was acting as if she did not care, but she reminded me of someone who was lacking a bit of confidence at that moment.  She was a bit like Violet from the Incredibles.  She was a bit like me at times. She just needed a little push.  Regardless of the reason, I was about to assess her and I wanted her affect to be positive toward the reading so I would see her strengths and the areas where we could create her next goals.

I told her about the power pose or super hero pose that I was practicing.  I shared with her the research from Amy Cuddy and explained that just by taking 5 minutes in this pose it would improve her performance.  Of course this brought her into a silly laugh, but there was the smile.  We stood up together and both took on a super hero pose for 5 minutes.  I am sure she thinks that I am a crazy loon but that is ok, she smiled, laughed and then we got down to business.

I am sure you could predict the end, she did improve in reading since the last assessment, and while I know it was not just the power pose, I know that gave her the confidence to do her best at that moment.  I hope that when she feels a bit under-confident again that she will remember our 5 minutes in the super hero pose and that will be enough to push her in the right direction.

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2 thoughts on “March 11, 2015 Day 11 Slice of Life Challenge

  1. Two things came to mind as I read your post, which to me screamed of mind over matter and how attitude affects behavior. The first is the scene from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince where Ron thinks that Harry put the “liquid luck” in his morning drink. Ron thought he was given this boost and so performed exceptionally well in his quidditch game, although Harry just wanted him to think that. He thought he was lucky and couldn’t fail, so he didn’t.

    The second was right from your reference to Amy Cuddy and her confidence pose. I just watched last week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy last night and the character of Amelia shared this philosophy with her intern before beginning an incredibly difficult surgery. They even stood like superheroes prior to the start of the surgery. How funny that I should watch that episode last night and then read your post tonight! Thanks for sharing!

    I hope you are able to help your student continue to build her confidence in herself!

    • Yes! Regarding the Grey’s Anatomy episode I actually posted about that last week myself because it brought Amy Cuddy’s TED talk back to my mind. Funny how certain things keep coming up at different times. I think that episode with Amelia was my favorite. All great stuff.

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