On Friday, we had a visit from Jamie Kudlats, a former principal who has just completed his PhD in Educational Leadership from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Jamie told me about North Carolina’s commitment to 3 R’s: Rigour, Relevance, and Relationship. This seemed like a useful lens through which to view the Mabin experience as well.
Next Wednesday, April 17, our students in Grades 3-6 will participate in the Mathematica Centrum math contests. These national contests give students an opportunity to take on a mathematical challenge and persist through it. Math contests are challenging, and it should be noted that a score above 50% is considered exceptional. The focus of the experience is on participation and on taking a responsible risk rather than the final score.
In preparation for these contests, teachers have reviewed the idea of “growth mindset” — that our brains grow when we struggle through a challenge. They have also addressed the issue of speed in mathematics, which tends to be overvalued. A person can be a good mathematician without being a FAST mathematician. Grade 3-6 teachers have provided a bit of practice on math contest questions so that the format is familiar. Children looking for an extra challenge can try the Practice Contests which are available at the Mathematica website or visit the nRich website for fun.
Our Ecowarriors continue to inspire us with their commitment to protecting the environment. At last Friday’s Assembly, they presented an excellent video on sorting waste that was filmed and edited by Amelia in Grade 5. (Amelia makes a small cameo appearance.) This is just one of many projects this dynamic group of parents, staff and students has taken on this year, in response to real and relevant world issues.
What better metaphor for community balance than the work of a jazz ensemble, where every member has to be deeply aware of the others in the group. At Friday’s Assembly, we were treated to a performance by our Grade 6s, an original composition with improvisational elements. Dressed in shades, the group showed that they know how to swing, while Eugene pulled out his bass saxophone and performed along with the Orff band. A number of students engaged in spontaneous composition, while others held a steady bass line.
These 3Rs are another way to think about the learning that happens at The Mabin School. Rigour, relevance, and relationship are all central to our mission of raising the next generation of original thinkers, adaptive leaders, and caring citizens.