Skip to main content

What do you think?

Today someone asked the following question: if you're not in favor of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), then what standards would you propose we replace them with? Although my response below started out somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it has made me think about what it is I really believe.

If it were up to me, I would say no standards.
Instead, I would have the kids brainstorm their passions, those things they would really like to study.
Then, I would categorize these with a group of colleagues.
Next, I would lay out all of the things (S&B's) that students would be learning if they were allowed to study their passions.
Along with this, would be all of the things teachers would be teaching that would help students study what they are truly interested in.
Of course, there are other things I would do like reading and writing workshop, etc.
Finally, I would present this to your principal. If you did a cross check of this with established standards I bet you would hit all of them and then some.
Hmmm...Maybe I'll do this with my ESL kids just to see what happens...

It's not that I don't believe in standards. Rather, I believe in kids. I also believe that teachers working together have the professional knowledge and expertise to know what is important for kids to learn. And, of course, there are the kids themselves who can tell us what they need to get better at. We also have professional organizations that have given us excellent standards over the years - NCTM, NCTE/IRA, etc. So, why do we need something created by non-educators? Why do we trust these standards more than our own knowledge? Why do we need a rigid set of goals that all students must master by a certain grade level?

I know. I know. What about new teachers? Well, what about them? That is why there is a collective of teachers, new and experienced, to help sort this out.

This is out loud thinking, and it's very rough. It's not a typical SOL but it captures a moment in the timeline of my evolving thinking so I think it qualifies. What are your out loud, rough thoughts on this issue??

Cross posted to March Slice of Life Challenge, Day #6.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Teacher I Want to Be

The
I have been dismayed to realize that despite my self-image as a teacher with a learner centered classroom, I am far from truly achieving that goal. 

I have been listening carefully to myself lately, and I don't like what I hear myself saying to the kids. Instead of empowering my students to take ownership of their learning, I am still the director on the stage. I still ask leading questions rather than ones that push the learner to figure things out for herself. I realize I often spoon feed my students hopeful that they will give me the answer I'm looking for. An answer that will make my job easier. Answers that will fit with what I expect students to say despite the fact that 30 years in education has taught me nothing if not that students are unpredictable, and if we prepare for anything, that is what we should be prepared for. 
Teacher
An anecdote. The other day I was talking with a student about the fact that she was abandoning more books than she was finishing. I was as…

Mini Lessons

Sometimes, I plan too many teaching points for one lesson. For example, instead of focusing on one strategy that students need in order to become more proficient readers and writers, I try to teach several strategies at the same time. 

Sometimes, I stretch out a teaching point beyond the 10- or 12-minute time limit I've given myself because I worry that my mini lesson wasn't enough or my students won't have understood what I intended to teach. So, sometimes, I beat the lesson to a pulp one too many times, or forget to have the kids practice the lesson before they go off to read or write. (Asking students to practice a lesson after you teach it, with you right there to observe and help guide students through the process, is very effective. Try not to skip this step!)  

Here's an example of a mini lesson that lasted less than 10 minutes and resulted in better learning.

My students are in the second round of historical fiction book clubs. In a couple of weeks, we will start …

A Confession

I have a confession to make.

I want to write a book. 
A professional book. 
I think I have a lot to say. 
I think others could benefit from my experience.
After all, I have been an educator for over 30 years.

But, what could I possibly say that hasn't been said before?
What new knowledge could I add to the table?
Who would even bother to read what I have to say?

These are questions borne of fear.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of not being able to complete such a daunting project. 
(At least, that's what it feels like to me right now.)
Fear that I won't make time.
Fear that I'll run out of time.

But, over the last couple of days, I've gotten some encouraging words of support from the Innovative Teaching Academy - 
#ITA17 Facebook group. 

You can do it!Write for yourself.
But the message that is propelling me forward is this one: 
It doesn't matter how many times something has been said...each time someone else says it, new people hear it...and that's where you make the d…