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19 December 2012 @ 02:22 pm
preaching to the choir (again)  
I followed a link in a tweet from @DianeRavitch this morning to yet another posting in defense of CCSS. Suddenly, there are articles and postings telling us that we have misunderstood CCSS, that we are not reading it correctly, or (my favorite) we did not pay attention to what was in the footnotes. Here is one area where the UNprogram has it all over programs such as NCLB and CCSS and the rest of the one-size-fits-all curriculum madness. The UNprogram is simple, easy to comprehend, and totally malleable. It does not REQUIRE though it can RECOMMEND. It does not DICTATE though it can SUGGEST. Unlike furniture which requires step by step assembly, the UNprogram can be assembled in many and varied ways; its components are not rigid or fixed. Best of all, the UNprogram can be adapted to meet the needs of ALL the kids you teach. And it does come with a guarantee--not that kids will be college and career ready (for heaven’s sake, I taught 8th grade and thought career day was a day better spent reading silently or reading aloud in class), but that kids will become lifelong readers. Now it will not happen all at once. I know, we always worry that when the little darlings leave us they will never again have a brilliant teacher who might be able to find the book we could not, that just right book. But, we do need to have faith that somewhere down the road that will happen.

And to make it happen, we need to be looking for converts. I am sometimes uncomfortable when it comes to evangelization. But I do know that always preaching to the choir, while it might make me feel good to hear the AMEN chorus, is not enough. So, I find a way to move others to consider the UNprogram. When I taught in open concept classes, the other teachers in my “pod” were strong-armed by THEIR students who could see my kids reading silently on the floor, on beanbags, in tents of their own creations. Eventually, they caved and let their classes join mine in a daily silent reading time. Before long, the entire school had 15 minutes each and every day to read silently. And if you doubt how important this is, look at the research that indicates how much vocabulary and reading comprehension growth this simple act of providing TIME to read can gain.

So, reach out to someone who might be amenable to the UNprogram. Show this person how it can be achieved, how to “manage” it. Share your own results, talk about your own stumbling blocks and how you dealt with them. Give them ONE piece of the UNprogram to add to their class. Then suggest another piece and another as they are ready for it. The UNprogram does not have to be implemented all at once or in any particular order. It is flexible. It is teacher friendly. Help someone else to discover the UNprogram.

Tomorrow: all about analysis (and take a look at the first 4 letters of that word and see if that tells you why I have some issues with it).
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