Thursday, February 13, 2014

Where Does Poetry Fit? A Common Core Dilemma Part 1

Where Does Poetry Fit?   Common Core Dilemma

Part 1 - The Part Where I Talk About Accepting Change

  Long, long ago, I dutifully taught students in a manner similar to the way I had been taught....the way I was taught to teach. I poured over every word in the teachers' edition of every basal.  I was not just "winging it" by anyone's perspective; I was working to be the best I could be.

I did small group and whole group reading, every single day.  I did handwriting, every single day.  I checked every page of seat work, every day.  But, I did not encourage my young students to be writers.  I saw myself as a teacher of reading.  I did not see my students as writers. I read a few poems, with students, but only if they "came up" in the basal. I did not see myself as a writer or as a poet.  

Then, in part due to reading professional journals like the Reading Teacher and workshops, lots of us learned of the seminal works of teachers who had another perspective, like Donald Graves, and the National Writing Project.  Lots of us started "following" (long before Twitter) Teachers College Writing Project, where writing and poetry was seen in a whole new light. 

We changed.  We took risks, read and wrote poetry with kids.  We infused poetry and demanded our kids take risks as writers of poetry. Over time, lots of us fell in love with poetry.  Our kids looked forward to "the poetry season" in reading and writing workshop.  

Over time, formal and action research has shown: 
     Learn phonemic awareness best in meaningful context.
     •Love reading the right poetry books.
     •Love writing poetry about things that matter.
     •Love that poets break rules 
     * Who struggle often write beautiful poetry

Then came the Common Core with limited mention(s) of poetry in primary standards for reading(stanzas, poetic language).  There was NO mention of poetry in primary standards for writing.  

So where does poetry fit, now?   


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