School Standards that encourage deeper thought is a good thing

May 2, 2011

I am cautiously optimistic of the Common Core standards, which is the newest experiment in the arena of school curriculum standards.
NYTimes “Trial Run for School Standards That Encourage Deeper Thought.”

The stated goal is “to go beyond reading lists” (emphasizing reading for meaning) “and math formulas to try to raise the bar not only on what students in every grade are expected to learn, but also on how teachers are expected to teach” gives prominence to the foundation for education. Students will be asked to read fiction and non-fiction and skills such as the ability to analyze and express ideas in a persuasive manner will be emphasized.

The Common Core standards have the potential to teach students the concept of making connections—knowing how to connect books, experiences and ideas.  Reading is thinking and students today spend too much time on assignments that are busy work, which do not promote thinking. It appears that Common Core could put into practice the adage: “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.” Involving students in what they read promotes understanding and thinking—both indispensable to best practices in education.

Shahrazad and her Arabian Night tales made me a lover of story with her “…and then what happened?” And C.P. Cavafy made me a lover of poetry.

April 30, 2011

I mark the last day of April as poetry month with one of my most favorite poems. I love journeys and the poem, Ithaka, written by the Greek poet, Constantine Peter Cavafy captures for me what a journey can be—one filled with passions, adventures, and awakenings. Let the poem transport you as the best of poetry […]


“Only the rarest kind of best in anything can be good enough for the young.”

April 25, 2011

Walter de la Mare (4/25/1873-1956) was an English poet, short story writer and novelist, probably best remembered for his works for children and “The Listeners”. His children’s book A Penny a Day won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1962. But I think of him as the person who taught me something very valuable when […]


Best practice for Literacy Volunteers: READ and TALK

April 22, 2011

An excerpt from a program I recently did for Literacy Volunteers: If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a team of parents, educators, volunteers and caregivers, working together to make sure children acquire the early literacy skill they need to enter school and be successful learners. Children are made readers on […]


Unplug…your kids and yourself!

April 18, 2011

Screen Free Week, (formally TV Turn off, April 18-24, 2011) is the annual national celebration where children, families, schools, and communities turn off TV, video games, computers, and hand-held devices and turn on life.  Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, they play, read, daydream, explore nature, and enjoy spending time with family and friends. […]


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