It's A S-t-r-e-t-c-h!

Suppose I asked you to explain to me what you're doing to stretch your students. What would that look like to you? Sound like? Feel like? And did it include failing? I went to a training led by Dr. Temple Grandin last week and one of her main points continues to resonate with me: We simply must 
s-t-r-e-t-c-h our students. Every day! If you ever get a chance to hear her speak, do yourself a favor and go see her talk about her formative years on the Autism spectrum. Her fascinating and valuable insight made me think about this intriguing book Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by Dr. JoAnn Deak:

It also made me think of the New York Times article by Paul Tough called What If The Secret To Success Is Failure?  This article argues that learning to respond to failure is essential to success. Would you agree? How exactly do we ensure that students experience failure? 

We did a book study with our PLC this fall on Mindset by Carol Dweck, whose research also reflects the assertion that attitude (how we respond to situations) is every bit as important as skill mastery. But it seems counterintuitive, really, because what teacher WANTS to see her students fail? And yet, how can kids learn to overcome adversity if they've never encountered it? Additionally, wouldn't we rather they fall when we're there to help coach them back up than when they're out on their own?

So today's inquiry is this: What's your s-t-r-e-t-c-h strategy?


  1. My stretch strategy is setting high expectations. They know that I know they can do it. I do not accept work below their very best effort.
    I actually just found an GREAT way to stretch their character and I can't wait to share it with you on my blog soon!!!! I'll hop on over when that post is ready :)

    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop

  2. I thnk I found a new book to read especially during assessments. I always telling my students that learning is about making mistakes. The important part is knowing what they are and learning from them.

  3. Temple Grandin! Isn't she interesting?! I first heard her speak in the early eighties (I am sooo old!).

    Gotta check out the BRAIN book. Looks terrific.

    Now I'm sending YOU back in time. Do you remember a book called "Dragons Hate to be Discreet"? That was the first "character building" book I ever bought... along with the cassette tape of Carole King and Pierre!

    Time for my Geritol.


    1. Geritol as a stretch strategy? Kim, you crack me up!! I don't remember that book though you've got to keep in mind that I spent my early years milking cows, not reading much. Then I taught high school, so I didn't discover really cool character-infused picture books until 1999 when my kids were little and I found Hey, Little Ant.

  4. I'm with Mor - I stretch my students by setting high expectations, and accepting nothing less. Set the bar high, and celebrate with your students when they reach the bar ... then set it even higher ...

    Runde's Room

  5. I think especially the "smart" kids need to especially understand this. Sometimes if something doesn't come easy to them, they don't want to try. I have a saying I use with my whole class: "Smart kids aren't kids who know everything. Smart kids are kids who aren't afraid to try."

    This also reminds me of Love & Logic that says kids need lots of opportunities to mess up when the price tag is small.

    Thanks for the reflective post this morning!

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. Oooo, I love that . . . a small price tag . . . . thanks for weighing in!

  6. I ask the "How" and "Why" questions of them and expect them to ask each other too during their learning.

    Yearn to Learn Blog


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!