Monday, August 19, 2013

The ELM Tree of Mastery

This summer, while swimming at the YMCA, I saw a poster that caught my eye.  The poster was nondescript and plain.   It had a little wispy tree and the words relating to an ELM philosophy.  It's what the poster said that really stuck with me and made it memorable.  Immediately I knew I could apply the theme of the poster in my classroom.   Naturally, I forgot to take a picture on the way out so I called the Y to get more information about the poster.  It felt weird calling them about it, but us teachers can be pretty determined once we see something we like.  Am I right!?!

Although they couldn't tell me where they got the poster they did direct me to a web site.  After some quick typing I found what I was looking for.  It's from the Positive Coaching Alliance web page.  Here's what I made after reading the web site.
ELM Tree of Mastery design my Mrs. Jackson
The point of the program is to have athletes focus on mastering their sport, not just on the outcome on the scoreboard.   The ELM Tree of Mastery philosophy uses a tree because you have to climb the Tree of Mastery to be successful.  What student wouldn't understand that visual?!?  All would!  My thoughts exactly.  Even though they "had me at hello" I continued to read more about the ELM Tree of Mastery.  Here's a quick summary.

There are three parts to mastery.

  • E for Effort.  Give your best effort every day.  Try your hardest every day.  You can't win in sports (or anything really! - Mrs Jackson) without effort.  
  • L is for Learning.  Continue learning and improving each day.  To be able to stand up against the best teams you have to learn to play your sport at the highest level.  If you win and learn nothing from that game then was that really a successful win?  It's important to always be improving.
  • M is for Mistakes.  Mistakes are part of learning.  It's okay to make mistakes.  How you respond to a mistake is important.  
Positive Coaching Alliance even states that research shows an improvement on the scoreboard if athletes focus on ELM.   

When I think about my goals to increase classroom improvement in social studies these topics come to mind... effort, having students responsible for their own learning, and reducing the pressure of classroom mistakes are at the top of my list.  It's a natural fit from the court to the classroom.  The Positive Coaching Alliance has several sample scripts and talking points that I can use to mold into my teaching style.  To further drive home my points I am thinking of taking the back wall in my room and designing a huge tree along with the ELM statements.  Do you think contact paper would stick to a cinder block wall?  Guess who is going to find out?  Me!  I'll keep you posted.

Have you ever taken an idea or philosophy from an area outside of education and applied it in your classroom?  How did it work out for you?

Clipart Tree Seasons: Summer Garden Tree 
Background: Fanciful Fall Paper Pack Freebie
ELM information: Positive Coaching Alliance
Font: DK Carte Blanch

1 comment:

  1. Hello Teacher Blogger!
    I wanted to thank you for your participation in the Middle School Blog Log on the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.
    Some changes are coming to the blog log. We have a new and more colourful button that I feel will attract more traffic to the site and our blogs. Please update our button on your teacher blog with the new code located at Middle School Blog Log
    We have also started a Closed Facebook group to stay connected to one another for marketing and social purposes. Please join us at the group called Middle School Bloggers in the Facebook groups area.
    Thanks for all you do. I read your blogs via bloglovin and so jealous of all your creativity.
    Kristy @ 2peasandadog {at}


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