I’m not sure how to use this, or which hat of mine I would use it for, but I want to note it down for later thought.
CCSS is being adopted/adapted for KSH and I will begin some side work on creating curriculum aligned to CCSS and CBE. CCSS aligns with Danielson, and done proficiently, both lead teachers to distinguished based on a more constructivist pedagogy. As an instructional coach, I get that.
But put on my other hat, that of reading specialist, I worry about those students who are already so behind that the Matthew effect is in full effect and as they move forward in our system, they actually fall farther and farther behind, even despite our best efforts. I must look to the voices dominant in this realm – those people whose passion is the reaching of reluctant secondary readers.
Here’s an excerpt from Kylene Beers on some words of wisdom regarding CCSS as quoted in Professor Nana’s blog:
“My own CCSS (Critical Core School Standards) that might have a chance of creating students who are indeed college and career ready reads like this:
All administrators and teachers will work together to create in all students a passion for learning, a joy in discovering, a tolerance for risk, the stamina to try again, respect of others, and belief in oneself. Schools will be seen as communities of learning where at the end of the year children are saddened to leave, count days until the next year begins, and “I want to try it” is heard far more than ‘Is this for a grade?'”
So why is this quote, of everything I read today, so important?
I need to understand the students I am creating curriculum for.
As a former AP teacher who made sure that I flunked my students at least once in the year perhaps for my own cognitive dissonance moment, I have to remember that AP students have their own built in survival mechanisms that keep them from shutting down when the going gets tough. I cannot only write curriculum for those students who will learn regardless of who stands in front of them. I must write for those students, true, but also for the students who struggle and everyone in between.
I can only create rigor and bring out critical thinking if the why of the unit is connected to the students. I need an appropriate hook, but it needs to be more than a metal shiny thing that skims the water with no sustenance attached. And staying with that metaphor, I need valid intentions for why I am trying to hook them in the first place. It needs to be a win win for all, including the teacher and the nerd and the struggler, etc. They have to “want to try it.” The challenge with CCSS is that I am trying to prepare them for a college and career experience that may not even exist right now, so we must teach through culture. I cannot think of anything else that is solid enough to hold on to. I think for our students the passion and joy will come from the culture. I may be far off base, but I need to try it.