Hold Fast is the motto of the Macleod Clan of Scotland. It reflects the spirit of loyalty to a cause.
All views expressed are my own.
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A fairly recent NY Times commentary by Sarah Mosle discusses the controversy over the Common Core’s recommendation that the 12th grade curriculum include 70% of its readings from non-fiction (http://goo.gl/7BFzQ). This has caused an uproar among many English teachers.
However, I actually agree that non-fiction is essential to teaching good writing; good writing that will be a foundation for success in the “real world” of work.
This does not mean that fiction will no longer be important. I cannot imagine an English class without Hemingway, Austen, Hardy, Salinger, Twain, O’Brien, etc. We can, though, as English teachers, weave in non-fiction to our discussions, often allowing us to bring a contemporary relevance to the literary canon.
Why not read Aristotle, Dewey, Descartes, E. B White, even Safire, to bring a foundation to a discussion of themes? Allegory of the Den can certainly enrich a discussion of truth and perception. It can also serve as a model for an effective argument in writing.
As in many instances, it is how we interpret and use a new standard that will make it effective or not.
Wonderful advice on how to enter the world of classroom tech:
Visit the link above to read more about each of these tips.
Transforming Students’ Motivation to Learn
Carol Dweck writes about mindsets (fixed or something that can grow or change) creating two different psychological worlds for children:
As I walked the dogs on the beach this afternoon, I watched a number of people who had their dogs running free. Though it irritates me when dogs are unleashed on a leashed beach, I secretly delighted in watching the playful enthusiasm of the dogs as they ran back and forth from the sand to the surf and around the legs of their owners. The power of play is so important to creativity, imagination, and ultimately, health and wellness.
Recently, Lionel Foster wrote about the Stoop Story-telling Series in Baltimore. If you have never heard one of these Stoop Stories, you’re missing a great event - seven minutes of amateur story-telling on a given topic.
Brian Boyd, The Origin of Stories, says story telling is “a powerful art form that allows us to communicate, derive meaning from events, and if we are persuasive enough, motivate our peers to change the world. The narrative becomes the blueprint.”
Story-telling is a human version of the power of play - the chance to be creative and to spark the imagination of the listener.
Recently, Nick Wingfield reported for the New York Times where schools have embraced a new approach to teaching computer science in high schools: http://goo.gl/vLN2W.
Microsoft has founded a program called TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) where Microsoft engineers volunteer to team teach for a year in a secondary school classroom, all in an effort to encourage more students to consider computer engineering as a college major and to then enter the field of technology.