Common Core

3 Reasons to Rethink Your Basal Reader


Currently in my district at the elementary level, we are in the process of strategically moving away from our basal reading program. We’ve already “cut out” its writing component, as next year we’ll be hitting the ground running with Writing Workshop and the Units of Study. Also, we’ve begun the process of designing our own […]

Teaching Common Core By Teaching Environmental Science

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April 22nd is Earth Day. I’ll be spending it in my daughter’s elementary school, helping to coordinate an all-day “Science Day” for a building full of eager kindegarteners through third graders. It wasn’t until I had kids and started looking at their curriculum that I began to wonder how key ideas and concepts could be […]

Learning on the Edge of Chaos


Successful learning is less about what’s memorized and much more about having the ability to make the right connections. But should teachers be the ones making all those connections for their students? TED Prize winner Professor Sugata Mitratalks about creating a “Self-Organized Learning Environment” or SOLE. As he points out, it’s often called “learning on […]

Wagons Are For Babies Anyway


Timmy the turtle knew the big day was coming. His first day of school was only amonth away and he was very excited. His brothers and sistershad alwaysloved school and he just knew that he would too. They would come home each day and tell him of the grand adventures that they had had in […]

Get Rid of the Jargon and Acronyms. Cut to the Chase.

Let’s talk so we can understand each other. I really enjoyed this thoughtfularticlewhich I am sharing with you today. What a brave newCommon Coreworld! There are so many educational buzzwords I have trouble understanding them. Maybe you do too. The constant is change; the future is now. American school teachers are unsung heroes and sheroes. […]

Dick and Jane Go To Kindergarten. Yikes!

What should Kindergartners be expected to know? Ginn’s Dick and Jane Big Book, 1948 What should kindergarteners know about reading? Dick and Janetaught a lot of kids how to read, even though not every yard had a pony. We’ve come a long way with rich literature and real life writing. But there is a chasm […]

Rorschach Architecture


This past summer I stumbled upon Glenn Beck’s book Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education. Now, I’m not a fan of Beck or his politics and I hadn’t, until that point, been paying much attention to the Common Core debate in the United States. But, having done all of my graduate […]

High Stakes Testing and Children with Special Needs

March madness is entering its final days, and I am not referring to basketball. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) high stakes standardized tests that align with Common Core are wrapping up round one in Illinois. But unlike the NCAA college basketball tournament, there will be a second round of […]

The Reflective Teacher


If you can, you do. If you can’t, you teach. I’ve heard this before. I’ve heard it at dinner parties when friends of mine insinuate that my ‘vacations’ are nothing more than leisure time spent relaxing and that my job is nothing more than a glorified babysitter. I’ve sat through their hallow praise of how […]

Students in a Kettle


Last week I posted a copy of a letter I wrote to our State Superintendent of Education on my blog and learned a few things. 1 – The topic of standardized testing is a hot button, and the majority of people think it has gotten out of hand. 2 – While the far majority of […]