I have been in conference mode lately, on the road giving presentations about
Using picture books for K12 or talking about important components when using literature with kids or presenting with Donalyn or Karin oar another colleague about books and reading. That means I also sit in sessions and listen to others present. And it means, too, that I have been hearing the latest jargon in education. I want to point out some terms that are starting to become annoying ear worms.
Let's start with "A." Alignment. I know ism told to have my tires aligned from time to time. I do that. But this idea of aligning instruction is largely terminology that adds nothing to the discussion. We have been aligning instruction for decades if not longer (remember horizontal and vertical alignment, anyone, from the 80s?). Along with alignment comes ANCHOR. I did tweet out today that anchors are for boats. But in education suddenly everything is about anchor charts. "Anchor charts make learning visible and build a culture of literacy," claims one web site. Sounds reasonable enough to me, but how is this really being implemented if there are anchor charts for everything in a classroom? I saw reference to an anchor chart for making stacks for work to be done, work in progress, and work completed. I cannot imagine this is part of the culture of literacy. It seems to me to be more organizational. And there are other anchor charts that need to be tied tan anchor and dumped overboard (sea reference intentional).
"B" is for basalization. I learned for the first time that picture books are now part of some basal series. OWL MOON in the textbook with on,y 3 or so illustrations. Hey, guys, Ts is a Caldecott winner, and you are not sharing the entire book with Schoenherr's glorious illustrations? Why? Is it to ace time to make more anchor charts?
C is for COMMON CORE. Yes, I know it is not a federal mandate. I know it is not a curriculum. But it was written by those outside of the classroom and been used to eliminate teacher autonomy in way too many situations. It has been implemented with a heavy hand and, in all too many places, it is a scripted curriculum that will not lead to all of the world-changing results promised by David Coleman. It is not a paradigm shift as the authors of the standards proclaimed. It is a perversion of standards (which I would argue we need in education and many other areas of life). It has reduced teaching to an industrial job and taken away the vocation/ career of teaching for all too many teachers. C is also for COLLEGE AND CAREER READY as I do not see any research that indicates these standar will do just that. And three is no research tracking the effectiveness of CCSS either.
So, we will end here for now. Perhaps I will tackle all the letters of this crazy alphabet soup in future posts. In the meantime, I will "mind my Ps and Qs."