Friday, November 4, 2011

Harvesting 21st Century Style

As I stood at my kitchen counter washing, cutting and blanching still more "fruit" of our Community Supported Agriculture summer, I was thinking about the Common Core Standards (CCS) presentation I had been to the day before.  (Don't look at me as if I were weird - there must be some other people  think about the impact of the Common Core Standards on their preofessional lives while they are cleaning or cooking!)
Anyway, as my mind wandered and my chopping block filled with veggies, I was reminded that the most likely impact of these new CCS is to encourage teachers to: move out of our comfort zones,rethink what we have done in the past; consider new ideas; and try new materials methods and assessments.  Surely, the CCS move things up a notch or two (not as much for schools that have already done so in order to stay on "top" of the competition).  Surely, the CCS help move us in a direction assuring students in every state have similar expectations (a good thing in a mobile society).
Surely, the CCS ask us to revisit how we are currently teaching (even is we have just completed a curriculum review cycle).  Surely, the CCS encourage us to think of creative ways such as integrating the curriculum (oh yes, Mary Lynne and Mary Ellen - those curriculum units we published long ago are back in style!)
As I smiled softly, I was thinking that it is not just the recyling of old ideas that keeps us from getting stale; it is also going back to ways of working and living that bring us to new levels of understanding.  So in my mind, I am comparing the CCS with my summer harvest from my CSA.  The summer where I came up with INFINITE ways (thanks to the internet) of cooking INFINITE BOXES of snowpeas, beans, tomatoes, eggplants, kale, swiss chard, and peppers.  The summer when I made salsa, caponata, gabanoush, procusiutto pizza, hot goat cheese salad........all from scratch.  The summer when I filled my freezer with frozen veggies that were organically grown and prepared for a winter of endless harvests from my basement.  The summer when I got excited really about cooking and eating because I moved out of my comfort zone, rethought what I had done in the past; considered new ideas; and tried new materials methods and assessments. Surely, my CSA and the CCS BOTH move things up a notch or two.  Surely, my CSA and the CCS BOTH make us rethink what we are doing.  And, surely, my CSA and the CCS make those who have already traveled those familiar paths smile. 

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