Friday, November 8, 2013

CCSS: Can the standards be met in a workshop classroom?

I've been thinking about how the CCSS fit into a workshop model of teaching for a while now.  I've been reading, research, reflecting and wondering, particularly as I sense many districts abandoning the hard-to-do-well workshop model for the perceived easier-to-implement-reading-writing-CC aligned-programs.   I know I am not the only one thinking about the "endangered" workshop model which has its roots in differentiated teaching and learning; thus, when I see an article like the one this morning on Edutopia, I smile and remember that the CCSS do not "require" a program. 

Over on Edutopia, Rebecca Alber shares a post from her blog:

In this piece, she writes about the CC focus of audience.  I too have clear memories of English teachers talking about their stacks of essays and I know the weight of a classroom teacher who lugs marble notebooks home for Sunday night.  I do know that many students think school writing's purpose is to make the teacher happy. 

Yet. the standard now is for to write for a task, a purpose, and an audience.  Honestly, that is not bad advice, and I am pretty sure that Donald Graves and Lucy Calkins (and others) have mentioned that more than one time! 

You should read Alber's whole article, but in a nutshell, her suggestions are simple, real sharing activities such as:

  • Pair up and read it out loud to another student.
  • Write a letter to a family member, penpal, other community.
  • Write to the principal, assistant principal, school counselor, or perhaps district superintendent
  • Write to local or national government leaders.
I know we can, and probably should, do this! 



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