Saturday, October 18, 2014

Joining the Dance

I had an interesting conversation with my principal this week. Our reading focus is in a state of change. Our tried and true practices of guided reading at a student's instructional level is being challenged by advocates of the Common Core and close reading. Our shared reading is moving away from a comprehension strategy focus - compare and contrast, author's purpose, main idea, etc. (not to mention all the changes in math - whew!) As teachers, our equilibrium is really out of whack this school year.

I say this because the State of Florida has implemented their version of Common Core this school year. School systems and teachers in other states are way ahead of us.  I can tell by how much when I read teacher blogs and look at resources on Teachers Pay Teachers. But for Florida teachers, we are being asked to make a huge change in how we teach the standards and this is HARD! If you can't teach the main idea as the main idea, how do we teach it?  

Back to my conversation with my principal...she referred me to a blog post Shanahan on Literacy that is challenging the belief that leveled books are not the best way to teach reading. WHAT? That is heresay! Shanahan and others say that students need to be put in text that is challenging and requires them to struggle. This certainly goes against everything I have learned and practiced in the reading arena. 

I'll be honest - I'm feeling very unsure of where this is all going.  I want to do what's best for my students, but right now does anyone know what's best in reading? Is the pendulum swinging too far or is this a needed correction to our reading instruction? As you know, Common Core standards are very controversial and now we are seeing why.

Teachers from other states - what do you think of the Common Core and the new reading requirements? How have you made the change? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Well, Florida is joining the dance this school year - but right now it feels like your first middle school dance - you know, awkward and uncomfortable. But we all survived that, right?

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