professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

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Pigeonholing, or don't let the pigeon drive the standards

First, I must apologize to Mo Willems for the word play in the title. I love the Pigeon. However, as I read posts lately about CCSS, I wonder who in the world is defining terms and making things even more confusing?

The latest atrocities:

1. A post that indicated the CCSS writing standards were new and improved because they focused kids' writing on a real audience. What? So, when I was teaching writing to middle school kids in the 80s and they wrote to authors, parents, administrators, one another, community members, and me was I not having them write to a real audience? Apparently not. But rest assured CCSS will take care of that. Well, maybe not. Here is a link to one of the PARRC assessments that does a SIMULATION of research (who is the audience for a simulation, I wonder?): http://www.parcconline.org/samples/english-language-artsliteracy/grade-5-elaliteracy.

2. A three part post that discussed why biography and autobiography should be used much less in CCSS reading of nonfiction. I love the rationalization. It begins with why CCSS put emphasis on nonfiction after research (three studies) indicated low percentages of nonfiction texts being used in classrooms (and I am hoping the classrooms referred to included only ELA and not content areas as I cannot imagine why those classes did not contain lots of NF). But then counters the definition CCSS includes as to what constitutes nonfiction (biography and autobiography among the items listed). The reason for slighting biography and autobiography is the research that was used to insert NF into the standards. Of course, note was also taken that careers do not rely on adults reading biography and autobiography. Sigh.

3. A post about apps that motivate kids to read (http://www.weareteachers.com/community/blogs/weareteachersblog/blog-wat/2013/06/26/16-apps-that-motivate-kids-to-read) just about made me scream. I love apps, don't get me wrong. But if we want to motivate readers, they need BOOKS and not APPS. I mean, Kindle as an app that motivates? Maybe having a book in e-format might be novel and get a kid to pick up a book. But if the book is not right for the child, it is not going to be a successful motivational experience. I will be talking about APPS in a session called APP-licability at two different conferences this month. But motivation will not be the reason for me including an app in my presentation.

Let me be clear here: CCSS did not invent standards; there are no standards here that have not been around for a good long time; they are not "deeper" (as Jeb Bush recently suggested) nor are they the charms that will make sure kids are ready for career and or college. They will not make our international test scores skyrocket. They were not voluntarily adopted. Teachers do not love them. They are ot being implemented in some sort of logical process. They cannot be edited, clarified, or changed in any way. Might as well call the Smithsonian now and have them frame behind plexiglass this document that is not living but flat and lifeless. Who knows? One day, someone might find some value in it as an historic document.
Tags: ccss
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