Here is a teachers idea of how Common Core should be taught… ie, close reading of a text…

It is broken down into three readings… Reading one, Reading two, and Reading three.  To show grownups what this does to the joy of reading, another  Nancy Bailey (no relation to George) last year took the classic The Night Before Christmas, and after each paragraph, inserted the criteria required to teach in Common Core.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

STOP!

The First Reading

What is the main idea?
Summarize the passage I just read.
Do you have questions about what I read?
What did you hear?
What is this about?

The Second Reading

What text structures and text features were used?
What is the author’s purpose?
How does the author feel about the subject?
Why did the author use particular words and phrases?

The Third reading

What Inferences can you make?
How does the author support key points?
How does this relate to other texts you’ve read?
How does this relate to your life?
How does the author support key points?

——

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

STOP!

The First Reading

What is the main idea?
Summarize what I just read.
Do you have questions about what I read?
What did you hear?
What is this about?

The Second Reading

What text structures and text features were used?
What is the author’s purpose?
How does the author feel about the subject?
Why did the author use particular words and phrases?

The Third reading

What Inferences can you make?
How does the author support key points?
How does this relate to other texts you’ve read?
How does this relate to your life?
How does the author support key points?

=====

She ruins the entire poem.

Now, besides the irritability of having to stop one’s train of thought every stanza… look at some of the required discussion questions..

What is the main idea?….  Answer… Everyone was asleep… Do we really need to dissect a poem to infinity and beyond to understand that it is about late night when everyone is tired and going to sleep?

Duh.  Really how much more can we learn about everyone being asleep, something obviously heard and understood at first reading, by discussing it excessively in class?  Does this make children smarter and able to read better at some future point? Or does it teach them to play video games all day at home and not read at all?  Obviously it does the latter.

Another question:  what text structures and text features are used?  Excuse me… what is a ….. text structure…   How in hell have I been able to read and write my entire life without knowing what a…. “text structure” is?  Oh, of course I can guess… by saying the too obvious…

“Excuse me, teacher, is it the structure of the text?”

“Why very good kavips, you nailed it exactly… The text structure is the structure of the text”….

“Ma’am?”

“Why yes little kavips.”

“So how is this text structured, can we see it?  What supports what, like on a bridge?  You know how the bottom holds up the top?  So where is the structure in this?”

“I’m sorry, little kavips… no one knows… You see English is a living language changing every day, and if there was structure that was too tight, it couldn’t change… ”

“But what IS the structure, can you explain it to me?”

“No. it is unexplainable. It IS after all, Common Core”

====

In the old days we used to diagram sentences.  That was visual and real and very helpful in understanding adverbs and participial phrases.  We don’t do that any more… All we get is one teacher’s goofy definition of structure she pulls of the top of her head since it is never explained, which is different from all other teacher’s definitions of structure.. So much for “one” curriculum.

—-

Whereas this curriculum may have a place in some specialized field of literary English criticism, perhaps Harvard…  the intellectual movement that Common Core’s ELA forces on children, “only focus on the text”, was debunked as a critical movement back in 1949.. The world has moved on…

All but David Coleman, the founder of Common Core.

Dare you. Read the poem all the way through, answer every question. (No adult will, but yet we thrust it on our children because they have no power of complaint) … then, opt out your child so Common Core disappears after this year and your children again can learn that learning about what is cool, is fun.

In the meantime, next year (2016) pay attention to our General Assembly.

Look for a:

Bill to replace the Smarter Balanced Assessment

Bill to replace Common Core  curriculum with Delaware’s own standards.

Bill to fund Charter School by line items in state budgets and not allow them to steal money from good public schools and bad.

Bill to minimize Standard test results to only 5% weight on a teachers evaluation, making it a factor of no consequence except in borderline cases.

Bill to raise taxes only on  the top 1% of the state’s revenue earners, to be used to fill in budget gaps looming so large they call loudly for drastic cuts, all unnecessary if taxes just get raised on the top one percent…

 

 

 

 

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