Category Archives: Uncategorized

The HEAD and the HEART

A few years ago I started a new tradition at the gyms. Being near the University of New Hampshire we have a number of college students who work at each location. As the seniors finish their last final and prepared for their college graduation we  all go out to dinner together. I want to make sure they they know how much I appreciate their work, their integrity and their dedication to the gym and the students. I can only hope that I have been a good boss. That I have helped guide them and that Atlantic has been more than just a job and a pay check.

Last night was a wonderful evening. We had a great dinner and toasted their future. We shared funny stories of incidents in classes along the way and I refrained from my habit of offering fatherly advice!

As we were preparing to leave I wanted to thank them once again. I said to them, ” I may be the HEAD of this organization but you are the HEART. “

My job is to market the gyms. Set up an organization that runs well and smoothly. I can get the students to the door. They have to keep them (and their parents) happy.

To our Graduating Seniors, Kadi, Erika, and Emily- Thank you. I am proud of you, we would not be who we are with out people like you. I am happy to say that KADI has taken on a full time position at ATLANTIC! Erika will be in grad school at UNH so will be around a while longer and Emily will at least be around through the summer.

Being the “Dad” of the gym I cannot let you go without giving you some advice:

This is an exciting time, with all that is in front of you; endless possibilities, and just as many opportunities, waiting for you to grab hold. It can be scary— uncertainty, confusion, and choruses of, “What do I do now?” will surely ring in your ears from time to time.

Here are my words of wisdom of the things they probably didn’t teach you in college.

  • Learn the art of listening.
  • Nothing worthwhile is easy and nothing easy worthwhile. Only when we get out of our comfort zone do we set ourselves up for greatness. You will not learn by taking the easy way out— of anything.
  • Be tolerant.
  • Be kind to yourself and kill the naysayers with kindness.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Your words have meaning, choose them wisely.
  • Unplug, unwind and quiet the chatter.
  • Think outside of the box. On second thought, don’t put yourself in a box in the first place.
  • Forgive because you won’t ever forget.
  • Remember the old folks; respect them, for you too will be old one day.
  • Be compassionate.
  • No tanning beds.
  • Ask for help. People will show up, as will the universe. Pretending doesn’t make you smarter.
  • Don’t accept explanations as whole truths from people just because they have a business card. Question everything and do your own vetting.
  • Take chances and risks. Have certainty that there will be someone to have your back. Don’t let fear paralyze you. Bravery is acting in the face of fear, making friends with it and moving past it.
  • Share yourself, and your talents, with others. Give back and give often.
  • It’s okay to change your mind. Walk a road that you hadn’t envisioned, and then, when you are ready, make a sharp left, and take that road.
  • Keep your heart and mind open. You will find it, although it may not look like what you had pictured in your mind. You may find that there’s more than one it.
  • Doc Massimo would always tell me Control the controllables. The quicker you can distinguish between what you can control, and what you cannot, the happier and lighter you will feel.
  • Surround yourself with positive people and let the others gently fall away. Don’t count people out. Sometimes they will surprise you. Gather those around you that will assist you on your path; those that support and encourage need only apply.
  • Don’t save things for a rainy day, or the perfect time. They don’t exist. Wear the new dress, tell someone that you love them.
  • You have to look at yourself in the mirror every day. Be sure that you can smile at the person looking back at you.
  • People are doing the best that they can (most of them anyway), be patient with those that aren’t as capable as you are.

Good luck! You will always have a HOME here at ATLANTIC. If you ever get lost- enter these into your GPS-Latitude: 43.095321 | Longitude: -70.790951. It will help you find your way back here.

Advertisements

HANDSTANDS FOR HEART

Every Month Atlantic Gymnastics picks a Charity or Event to Sponsor. We are committed to making our community a better and no effort seems too small or task too large.

This month Atlantic Gymnastics is working to raise funds for the American Heart Association. Please help us reach our goal of $5,000 by participating in our Handstands for Heart fundraiser. Any participating students will be timed in a handstand before their class during the weeks of February 19th and the 26th. Competitive team participants will be timed during their practice. If your gymnast hasn’t gotten their handstand yet they can still participate!! We are looking forward to lots of handstands! The more students we have participating, the more funds we will be able to donate to this amazing organization.

Prizes for most amount raised, longest handstand, and most individual pledges.

If you have any questions please ask at the front desk or send us an email!
Stop by the front desk to pick up your pledge form or download form below.
Make sure you register and confirm your time slot for your final handstand time.

 

Everything you need to know about the Winter Olympics

The 2018 Winter Olympics are drawing near, and this iteration of the international games will include new events, new ways to watch and, most likely, new records.

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games, including when and where the Olympics will take place:

Where are the 2018 Winter Olympics?

An aerial photo shows a general view of the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium venue of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic games, in the town of Hoenggye on October 31, 2017. (Ed Jones—AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial photo shows a general view of the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium venue of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic games, in the town of Hoenggye on October 31, 2017. (Ed Jones—AFP/Getty Images)
Ed Jones—AFP/Getty Images)

The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in PyeongChang in South Korea. After previous failed bids, the city beat Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France, as the venue for the upcoming games during the International Olympic Committee’s 123rd IOC Session in South Africa in 2011.

While PyeongChang has never hosted an Olympics, Seoul hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics. This upcoming event will be the first time South Korea has hosted a Winter Olympics. More than 100 miles east of Seoul, PyeongChang County is located in the Gangwon province of South Korea in the Taebaek Mountains. PyeongChang’s elevation makes it a popular destination for hiking and skiing. Many of the events will be held at Alpensia Sports Park, which is part of the popular Alpensia Resort in the county.

When will the Olympics start?

The Olympic games will begin on February 8, 2018, and end February 25, 2018. While the games’ Opening Ceremony will take place on Friday, February 9, the first competitive events will happen on February 8.

What sports are in the Winter Olympics?

The Winter Olympics will feature 15 sports with individual and team events. A number of the sports take place on the slopes: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboard. The rest take place on ice: curling, bobsled, figure skating, hockey, luge, short track, skeleton and speed skating.

Within the 15 sports, there will be 102 events where athletes will have the chance to earn a gold, silver or bronze medal for their countries. In 2018, six new medaled events were added to the schedule. Those events include a team event for alpine skiing, mixed doubles curling, men’s and women’s big air for snowboarding and men’s and women’s mass start for speed skating.

Which U.S. athletes will be competing?

Erin Hamlin of the United States celebrates winning bronze medal in the Women's Luge Singles on Day 4 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Sliding Center Sanki on February 11, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Alexander Hassenstein—Getty Images)
Erin Hamlin of the United States celebrates winning bronze medal in the Women’s Luge Singles on Day 4 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Sliding Center Sanki on February 11, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Alexander Hassenstein—Getty Images)
Alexander Hassenstein—Getty Images)

The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang will have the highest number of athletes ever to compete in a Winter Games. Organizers said 2,925 athletes from 92 countries will compete this year.

Two hundred and forty-two of those athletes are competing for Team USA — about 12 more than those who did in Sochi in 2014.

While it is a record for the Winter Olympics, the number of those participating is still smaller than the number of athletes who regularly participate in the Summer Olympics. In Rio in 2016, more than 10,500 athletes competed, with 558 of them representing the U.S.

Here’s a list of athletes who will compete Team USA at the 2018 Olympics:

Alpine Skiing:

Men: Bryce Bennett, Tommy Biesemeyer, David Chodounsky, Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Mark Engel, Tommy Ford, Jared Goldberg, Tim Jitloff, Nolan Kasper, Ted Ligety, Wiley Maple, Andrew Weibrecht

Women: Stacey Cook, Breezy Johnson, Megan McJames, Steven Nyman, Alice McKennis, Laurenne Ross, Resi Stiegler, Jacqueline Wiles

Mikaela Shiffrin: Shiffrin will be the returning slalom champion this year, after being the youngest champion in that event in Olympics history in Sochi in 2014. At age 22, she currently has the second-most World Cup wins by an American woman — behind Vonn.

Lindsey Vonn: After injuries kept her out of the 2014 Olympics, Vonn is gearing up for a triumphant return. In 2010, she was first American woman to ever win the gold medal in the 2010 downhill race. She has also won four overall World Cup championships.

Biathlon:

Men: Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke, Russell Currier, Sean Doherty, Leif Nordgren

Women: Emily Dreissigacker, Susan Dunklee, Clare Egan, Maddie Phaneuf, Joanne Reid

Bobsled:

Men: Hakeem Abdul-Saboor, Codie Bascue, Nick Cunningham, Chris Fogt, Chris Kinney, Steve Langton, Sam McGuffie, Sam Michener, Justin Olsen, Carlo Valdes, Nathan Weber, Evan Weinstock

Women: Aja Evans, Lauren Gibbs, Jamie Greubel Poser, Elana Meyers Taylor

Cross-Country Skiing:

Men: Erik Bjornsen, Patrick Cladwell, Simi Hamilton, Logan Hanneman, Reese Hanneman, Noah Hoffman, Tyler Kornfield, Andy Newell, Scott Patterson

Women: Sadie Bjornsen, Rosie Brennan, Sophie Caldwell, Jessie Diggins, Rosie Frankowski, Annie Hart, Kaitlynn Miller, Caitlin Patterson, Kikkan Randall, Ida Sargent, Liz Stephen

Curling:

Cory Christensen, Aileen Geving, Becca Hamilton, Tabitha Peterson, Nina Spatola Roth, Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner, Joe Polo, John Shuster

Figure Skating:

Karen Chen, Madison Chock, Madison Hubbell, Mirai Nagasu, Alexa Scimeca Knierim, Bradie Tennell, Evan Bates, Nathan Chen, Zach Donohue, Chris Knierim, Adam Rippon, Vincent Zhou

Maia and Alex Shibutani: The siblings are three-time World medalists, earning bronze in ice dancing in 2017. They appear to be the new pair to watch, after 2014 Sochi gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White announced they would not compete to defend their title in PyeongChang.

Freestyle Skiing:

Men: Aaron Blunck, Mac Bohonnon, Alex Ferreira, Nick Goepper, Alex Hall, Gus Kenworthy, Jon Lillis, Eric Loughran, Troy Murphy, Emerson Smith, McRae Williams, Bradley Wilson, David Wise, Torin Yater-Wallace

Women: Maddie Bowman, Ashley Caldwell, Caroline Claire, Annalisa Drew, Tess Johnson, Jaelin Kauf, Jaelin Kauf, Devin Logan, Keaton McCargo, Kiley McKinnon, Madison Olsen, Morgan Schild, Brita Sigourney, Darian Stevens, Maggie Voisin, Casey Andringa

Ice Hockey:

Men: Mark Arcobello, Chad Billins, Jonathon Blum, Will Borgen, Chris Bourque, Bobby Butler, Ryan Donato, Matt Gilroy, Brian Gionta, Jordan Greenway, Ryan Gunderson, Chad Kolarik, David Leggio, Broc Little, Brandon Maxwell, John McCarthy, Brian O’Neill, Garrett Roe, Bobby Sanguinetti, Jim Slater, Ryan Stoa, Troy Terry, Noah Welch, James Wisniewski, Ryan Zapolski

Women: Cayla Barnes, Kacey Bellamy, Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, Kali Flanagan, Nicole Hensley, Megan Keller, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux, Gigi Marvin, Sidney Morin, Kelly Pannek, Amanda Pelkey, Emily Pfalzer, Alex Rigby, Maddie Rooney, Haley Skarupa, Lee Stecklein

Long Track Speedskating:

Men: Shani Davis, Jonathan Garcia, Kimani Griffin, Brian Hansen, Emery Lehman, Joey Mantia, Mitchell Whitmore

Women: Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe, Erin Jackson, Mia Manganello, Carlijn Schoutens, Jerica Tandiman

Luge:

Men: Justin Krewson, Chris Mazder, Taylor Morris, Matt Mortensen, Andrew Sherk, Jayson Terdiman, Tucker West

Women: Summer Britcher, Emily Sweeney

Erin Hamlin: A three-time Olympian, Hamlin was the first ever female American luger to win a medal in luge after taking home bronze in Sochi.

Nordic Combined:

Ben Berend, Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, Jasper Good, Ben Loomis

Short Track Speedskating:

Women: Maame Biney, Lana Gehring, Jessica Kooreman

Men: J.R. Celski, Thomas Hong, John Henry Krueger, Ryan Pivirotto, Aaron Tran

Skeleton:

Matt Antoine, John Daly, Katie Uhlaender, Kendall Wesenberg

Ski Jumping:

Men: Kevin Bickner, Michael Glasder, Casey Larson, Will Rhoads

Women: Nita Englund, Sarah Hendrickson, Amy Ringquist

Snowboarding:

Men: Nick Baumgartner, Jonathan Cheever, Chris Corning, Mick Dierdorff, Ben Ferguson, Red Gerard, Chase Josey, Hagen Kearney, Kyle Mack, AJ Muss, Jake Pates, Ryan Stassel, Mike Trapp

Shaun White: A two-time Olympic gold medalist, White is focusing this year solely on the halfpipe. Though he won the event previously, White placed fourth in Sochi. The athlete also has the record for the most X Games gold medals.

Women: Jamie Anderson, Kelly Clark, Arielle Gold, Faye Gulini, Arielle Gold, Lindsey Jacobellis, Jessika Jenson, Hailey Langland, Rosie Mancari, Julia Marino, Maddie Mastro, Meghan Tierney

Chloe Kim: Though she was too young to compete in Sochi, Kim could leave a huge mark on the halfpipe for Team USA. At the 2016 U.S. Grand Prix at age 15, Kim became the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s on the halfpipe, in an event where she scored a perfect 100 points.

After finishing fourth at the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Jan., Ashley Wagner, an American figure skating, did not qualify this year despite being an Olympics favorite.

How can I watch the Olympics on TV?

NBC will once again broadcast the Olympics — but this time, the network is changing it up. For the first time, NBC will broadcast the Olympic Games live in all time zones. In the past, U.S. viewers had to wait to watch delayed tape of the events — with the most anticipated events often appearing during primetime. This meant many viewers were susceptible to spoilers before having a chance to see the competition unfold.

The games will be broadcast on TV on NBC Universal networks, including NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and USA Network. The games can also be live streamed or watched on demand on NBCOlympics.com, as well as on the NBC Sports app.

In November, NBCUniversal announced its preliminary TV schedule, saying it would stream 2,400 hours of these games — a record for the NBC in its streaming of Winter Olympics games. Coverage of the games will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN — which will air mixed doubles curling.

“There will be more live hours of Winter Olympics coverage in PyeongChang than ever before, and for the first time at a Winter Games, NBC will broadcast live across all time zones to the entire country, creating a unique national collective experience for this event,” Jim Bell, the president of NBC Olympics Production and Programming, said in a statement.

You can expect to watch the Olympics on NBC for the foreseeable future. The network has ownership of the rights for the games through 2032. However, the network’slongtime primetime anchor Bob Costas will no longer fill that role. Mike Tirico will take Costas’s place.

Will Russia compete in the 2018 Winter Games?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended Russia from the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang following a systematic, state-supported doping scheme that allowed its athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs. The suspension affects the Russian Olympic Committee, but individual athletes from the country will be invited with a chance to compete “under strict conditions” and under the title “Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)” instead of their flag. Still, Russian Olympic leadership and the flag itself will not be recognized at the Games, per the conditions from the IOC.

The decision comes after a three-year investigation into Russian doping before and during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, where Russia won the most medals of any other country. The report found “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia,” according to the Olympics.

While Russia often dominates the Winter sports arenas, their absence could have a substantial impact on the competition — and who comes out on top.

Will North Korea compete at the 2018 Olympics?

North Korea plans to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang this year — a decision made after the first talks between the country and South Korea in more than two years.

The delegation would include athletes, officials and a cheer squad. The International Olympic Committee had extended its October deadline to allow for North Korea to enter to compete in the games. North Korean figure skating team Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik qualified for the Olympics back in September 2017, but it will be up to North Korea’s Olympic Committee to decide whether to send them to PyeongChang, their coach told the New York Times.

The country first competed in the Olympics in the 1964 Winter Olympic Games in Innsburck, Austria. Its second appearance came in 1972 at the Summer Olympics in Munich. After that, North Korea regularly competed in the Summer Olympic games and participated in about half of the Winter Olympic games.

However, North Korea boycotted the Olympics held in Seoul and did not participate in Sochi. In a 1987 plot to disrupt the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Seoul, North Korean agents placed a bomb on a Korean Air flight that killed all 115 people on board.

In his New Year’s Day speech ahead of the talks between the two countries, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un said he wished to send a delegation to South Korea for the games. “We sincerely hope that the South will successfully host the Olympics,” he said, according to the New York Times.

Are there any other controversies ahead of the Olympics?

Henrik Lundqvist #30 of Sweden defends his goal as Sidney Crosby #87 of Canada closes in during the Men's Ice Hockey Gold Medal match on Day 16 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Pool—Getty Images)
Henrik Lundqvist #30 of Sweden defends his goal as Sidney Crosby #87 of Canada closes in during the Men’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal match on Day 16 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Pool—Getty Images)
Pool—Getty Images)

With just a few months until the Opening Ceremony, the Winter Olympics has not sold as many tickets as expected — potentially due to a series of North Korea weapons tests, according to the Associated Press. South Korea is hoping for more than 1 million spectators — including 750,000 locals — to enjoy the 2018 Winter Olympics, but only 52,000 locals purchased tickets during the first phase of sales from February through June 2017. Lee Hee-beom, the president of the organizing committee in PyeongChang, told the AP it is unlikely North Korea would interfere with the Olympics, since some of the nation’s athletes could potentially compete in the events.

Also, the National Hockey League announced it would not participate in the Winter Olympic Games — which means the league won’t provide accommodates for its athletes and will not include a break for the Olympics in the 2017-2018 NHL season schedule. The decision came after a dispute with the International Olympic Committee over whether the IOC would cover the costs incurred by NHL players participating in the event, as the IOC had done in the past. The IOC decided not to pay these costs in 2018. The NHL did not participate in the 1988, 1992 or 1994 Winter Olympics due to the interruption required in its schedule.

What is the official Winter Olympics mascot this year?

Following several decades of tradition, the 2018 Winter Olympics has its own mascot. “Soohorang,” an animated white tiger, is the symbol for the upcoming Olympics. In Korea, the white tiger is known as the country’s “guardian animal,” according to the Olympics’ website.

The name “Soohorang” is a combination of several Korean words meant to symbolize the Olympics and the mascot. “Sooho” means “protection” in Korean; “rang” comes from the Korean name for tiger, “ho-rang-i,” as well as the folk song “Jeong-seon A-ri-rang,” the traditional song of the Gangwon Province, which is where the Olympics will take place.

This photo taken February 4, 2017 shows the mascot for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, a white tiger named "Soohorang", in the town of Hoenggye in Pyeongchang.
This photo taken February 4, 2017 shows the mascot for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, a white tiger named “Soohorang”, in the town of Hoenggye in Pyeongchang.
Jung Yeon-Je—AFP/Getty Images

The tradition of having an Olympic mascot started in Grenoble during the 1968 Olympics with “Schuss,” a skier. Mascots now generally take the form of an animal, with some Olympic Games opting for several mascots to represent the special event.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, “Vinicius,” a combination of a cat, monkey and bird, was the mascot and symbolized wildlife found in Brazil.

Which country won the most medals in the 2014 Sochi Olympics?

Silver medalist Maxim Vylegzhanin of Russia, gold medalist Alexander Legkov of Russia and bronze medalist Ilia Chernousov of Russia celebrate in the medal ceremony for the Men's 50 km Mass Start Free during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Ryan Pierse—Getty Images)
Silver medalist Maxim Vylegzhanin of Russia, gold medalist Alexander Legkov of Russia and bronze medalist Ilia Chernousov of Russia celebrate in the medal ceremony for the Men’s 50 km Mass Start Free during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Ryan Pierse—Getty Images)
Ryan Pierse—Getty Images)

 

In the last Winter Olympics, Russia came out on top with 33 medals. The United States earned the second-most with 28, and Norway came in third with 26.

Where will the 2020, 2022 and 2024 Olympics be held?

The next Winter Olympics, in 2022, will be held in Beijing, which hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008. The 2020 Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo, and the 2024 Summer Olympics will be held in Paris. Los Angeles will host the 2028 Summer Olympics. The host city for the 2026 Winter Olympics has not yet been determined.

I HATED Vault! and My Mental Block.

Get Psyched!

Vault was by far one of my best events, but I hated it!! (Watch it here)

I struggled with Vault during practice. I was fine in the pit, but when it was time to throw my Yurchenko Full on hard ground…my palms would sweat, my heart would race, my mind would wonder, and my legs would shake.

THINK POSITIVELY” my coaches would say, and so I tried to. I thought I was, I would stand at the end of the runway and say, “please don’t die, please don’t die, please don’t die.” I thought that was positive, I wasn’t saying I wanted to die because that would be negative. What I didn’t know, was that hoping NOT to die wasn’t what I needed to be thinking about.

YOU HAVE ONE OF THE BEST VAULT IN THE COUNTRY” I heard on a regular basis, but it didn’t…

View original post 729 more words

In the wake of the Larry Nassar Sentencing.

Larry Nassar has finally been sentenced and will serve the rest of his life in jail.

I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine who was an Olympian. She said,

“Never in my life would I have thought that the sport which I love so much would be involved in the biggest case of abuse in history.”

I have been involved in gymnastics my entire life. My mother was my first coach. This entire scandal may have broken my heart but not my spirit. Dr. Nassar fooled everyone. I have known him since the early 90’s and never would I have suspected him. When my daughter was experiencing back pain due to scoliosis I had her see him at a competition. I never realized how close I came to having her subjected to abuse. Thankfully nothing happened.

At Atlantic Gymnastics, nothing is more important to us than the safety of the gymnasts. We have many policies in place that would prevent an adult from ever being alone with a gymnast and 100% of our adult staff have passed back ground checks. Some of the policies which USA Gymnastics have recently mandated have been in place at Atlantic for almost 20 years.

I am especially proud of the number of gymnasts who have come through Atlantic since we first opened in 1994. We have been opened long enough where we even have quite a few 2nd generation gymnasts! Many former gymnasts who are still in the area at least stop by and say HI. From the mechanic at the garage to the kindergarten teacher I ran into at Breaking New Grounds the other day,  hardly a day passes that I don’t run into someone who was at the gym at one time.

There is a sign on the front of the Portsmouth facility:

 WE BUILD CHAMPIONS FOR EVERYDAY LIFE. 

We that that statement very seriously. We take the safety of all participants very seriously.

 

Letting Students Be the Protagonists in Their Own Learning

I know we have many teachers who bring their children to the gym. I consider every one of our coaches TEACHERS FIRST. While doing some research to help them all become better teachers I came across this. Enjoy

See Original here: LETTING STUDENTS BE THE PROTAGONISTS IN THEIR OWN LEARNING

Like many literacy educators, last year I found myself reading Visible Learning for Literacyby Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey and John Hattie. The book breaks down the process of teaching and learning into three phases: teaching for surface learning, deeper learning and ultimately for transfer. And for each phase, it recommends specific teaching practices based on their effect size, i.e., “the impact a given a approach has” on accelerating student learning.

Being someone who tends to want to get to the deep stuff right away, I was curious about what the authors had to say about surface learning, along with what practices pack the greatest punch. They believe that surface learning is the foundation on which deeper learning is built, and among the recommended practices for that phase, I saw direct instruction, which comes with an effect size of 0.59.

That led me to watch one of the videos that can be found on Corwin’s resource page for the book. If you go to the link, you’ll see a teacher providing direct instruction on how to punctuate dialogue to her 9th grade class. Clearly, she adheres to the features of direct instruction as stated in the book, but I couldn’t help thinking that something was wrong here. These were 9th graders who, I’d be willing to bet, had been taught to punctuate dialogue ever since third or second grade.

This seemed to be another case of students having been taught something they didn’t fully learn, which can happen for a number of reasons. They might not have had enough time to practice for the learning to take hold. They might not have found “correctness” important. Or, as I suggested last week, there might have been something in the top-down teaching practice that didn’t fully engage them because it didn’t positioning them to be protagonists in their own learning.

But what would that look like when it comes to something like punctuating dialogue?

It just so happens that I wrestled with that very question last year, as I worked with several schools whose upper grade teachers wanted to teach writing and punctuating dialogue in their narrative units. In each case, the teachers had noticed that their students didn’t know how to punctuate dialogue, despite it having been taught the year before.

So here’s what we did: I asked the teachers to gather up the mentor texts they’d used to help their students develop a vision of narrative writing. And among them was Maribeth Boelt’s popular book Those Shoesabout a boy who longs for the expensive sneakers that all the popular kids were wearing. Immediately we noticed that Boelt constructed her dialogue, using a variety of sentence structures— as in, it wasn’t always “___________,” I or a character said. That variety, which we recognized as a craft move, helped give the book its voice, and we also recognized that it presented the potential for an inquiry into how writers write dialogue.

To implement that, we decided to invite everyone to the rug to look at the following four samples from the book, which we projected on the SMART Board. I read each of the sentences out loud, then invited the kids to turn and talk, using the basic thinking routine I shared in another post, What do you notice and what do you make of what you noticed?

In a sense, you could call this a rich task, as it offered multiple points of entry for students to engage in their thinking. Of course, some students at first only noticed what seemed the most obvious to them: that what was being said made the sentences different. In those cases, I acknowledged that was true, but then asked them to take another look at just the first two sentences to consider if there was anything else different between them. That led students to notice that the writer didn’t say who was talking in the first one (though they knew it was the narrator), while in the second the writer clearly told us. Noticing that, I then invited them to compare those two with the last two.

The first thing most of the students noticed was that, like the second sentence, the writer said who was speaking, but many also noticed that where the writer named the speaker was different in each sentence. That made them think that in addition to writers not always telling you exactly who was talking, they could also decide to name the speaker before, in the middle or at the end of the dialogue. And noticing that, they also noticed that the writer shared additional information in the last two sentences. In the first, she gave us more information about who the speaker was (as in their job), while the last shared where the person was when they spoke.

With that all charted, we sent the students back to their desks and asked them to pull out the drafts of their narratives. Then in groups of two and three, we gave them a packet of sentence strips with other sentences from Those Shoes that including dialogue, such as these:

And we invited them to sort and categorize the sentences to see if there were even more ways that writers set up dialogue.

That led them to even further discoveries. They noticed that sometimes writers used boldface for dialogue if the speaker was saying something urgent or forceful. They sometimes used words like asks and announces, instead of always using say. And they sometimes told where the speaker was AND what they were doing, in addition to the dialogue

With these new understandings added to the chart, we then invited the students to make some decisions about how they might revise the dialogue in their own drafts to reflect what they’d learn—and everyone was eager to do that. Many, for instance, wanted to add boldface to underscore a line of dialogue’s importance, while many others wanted to try placing the dialogue tag in the middle of the sentence because they thought that was cool.

Feeling empowered by being the protagonists in their own learning, no one blinked an eye when we added a final direction: Once they made those revisions, they needed to go back and find a sentence that was similar to one in Those Shoes, and then punctuate theirs the same way Maribeth Boelt had done. And as the students got to work, the teachers decided to start the next day by revisiting all those sentences to co-construct another chart about how dialogue was punctuated.

To be sure, this lesson took much longer than the one from Visible Learning for Literacy. But here’s the thing: If you go to the book’s appendix, you’ll find a list of practices arranged according to their effect size, from the most impactful to the least. And there you’ll see that Number 2 is Piaget’s approach. Hattie describes those as focusing “on the thinking processes rather than the outcomes and do not impose the adult thinking process on to children,” which is precisely what happened here. And Piagetian practices come with an effect size of 1.28, which means they have more than twice the impact on student learning as direct instruction does. And if you believe the words of Piaget I shared last week, you have to also think that these students will understand and retain far more by discovering how dialogue works on their own.

I’ll surely have more to say about this approach in future posts. But if you want more bang for your instructional buck, consider letting your students be the protagonists of their own learning by letting them discover and explore.

To Make a Prairie

Like many literacy educators, last year I found myself reading Visible Learning for Literacyby Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey and John Hattie. The book breaks down the process of teaching and learning into three phases: teaching for surface learning, deeper learning and ultimately for transfer. And for each phase, it recommends specific teaching practices based on their effect size, i.e., “the impact a given a approach has” on accelerating student learning.

Being someone who tends to want to get to the deep stuff right away, I was curious about what the authors had to say about surface learning, along with what practices pack the greatest punch. They believe that surface learning is the foundation on which deeper learning is built, and among the recommended practices for that phase, I saw direct instruction, which comes with an effect size of 0.59.

That led me to watch one of the…

View original post 1,149 more words

Plaid Friday

cropped-logobanner_2017

WOW- Thanksgiving  is only a couple days away! That happened fast. I want to wish everyone safe travels! The week before Thanksgiving is traditionally the one of the busiest travel weeks of the year so please be safe.

Why is the day after Thanksgiving in the USA becoming such a CRAZY shopping day? Are the deals that good? I couldn’t tell you- I have no intention of getting up at some ungodly hour to try to save $5 on something from Walmart. As a gym club owner, I truly believe that we need to support LOCAL business. Don’t make this Friday just another “Black Friday”. Make it a “Plaid Friday”

The name Plaid Friday celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent and local businesses. Plaid Friday is the fun and enjoyable alternative to the big box store “Black Friday” and is designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays.

Plaid Friday was conceptualized in Oakland, CA, a city known for strong shop local campaigns. Plaid Friday brings back the neighborly nostalgic times when shopping for friends and family was a pleasurable leisurely activity. The seacoast of New Hampshire and Maine have a long tradition of local businesses. Let’s celebrate the local businesses and our local flair.

fullsizeoutput_4ab2
HAVE A GREAT THANKSGIVING! And remember to SHOP LOCAL!
Tony