As our instruction moves to become more standards-based, we find ourselves really focusing with students around what we call "transferable skills." These are the broad set of skills (sometimes called 21st century skills) that are critical to our success in so many endeavors - skills such as creative problem solving, citizenship, effective communication, critical thinking and self-direction. Our middle schoolers have found some inspiring examples of people who exemplify many of these characteristics as we watch the 2016 Paralympics that just began this past Wednesday in Rio. Want a little inspiration for yourself - watch this trailer created to highlight the British Paralympic Team entitled "We're the Superhumans."
click here if you can't see "We're the Superhumans"
This served as our introduction to having students begin to practice the Self-Direction skill of goalsetting, framed with the question "what is something that you really wish you could accomplish or become - but wonder if you have what it takes? Throughout the year our hope is that this goal and others will become the foundation of a student's PLP - their personalized learning plan. Like all new skills - we recognize that goal-setting only becomes strong through practice so it will be an element of our Skills4Life classes throughout the year.
If you'd like to work with us on these lessons, consider sharing with your son, daughter or an SCS middle schooler you know an example of a goal that you are working towards. Personally - mine is to eat healthier, exercise more and get back to a healthy weight - something I've shared with the students so that they can help support me in making those little, strong decisions that make all the difference. Seeing these paralympic athletes overcome their challenges is a great reminder to all of us that we really don't have many excuses.
And if you'd like to follow the Paralympics (the USA has already won 8 medals) check out the USA Paralympic Team website at http://www.teamusa.org/us-paralympics One Paralympian to follow is Vermonts own Alica Dana, a handcyclist from Putney. Here is a link to a WCAX special on her that aired last week: WCAX - Alicia Dana Interview