I am behind the times here, having just read the book How Children Succeed.I was struck by the emphasis on grit and perseverance. I had some kind of vague ideas about these things being important, and talk with my students often about the Common Core Standard for Mathematical Practice #1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, but now more than ever I’m convinced of the importance of perseverance.

So, on Friday, when a colleague came in to borrow my class to administer a quick task problem on a topic that my students have never been explicitly taught (ratios), I shouldn’t have been surprised by the results.

My seventh period class is composed of 30 students, 6 of whom are also in my Seminar class (for struggling students – these are kids who have not met standard in prior years). On the task problem, 5 students turned in completely blank papers and did not even attempt the problem. Of those 5 students, all are Seminar students. Only one of my Seminar students attempted the problem.

Huh. I’m thinking that’s pretty telling.

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