What we remember from childhood we remember forever — permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.
My father always told me, “The one thing no one can ever take away from you is your education.” School was the top priority in our home, and he set high expectations. He always demanded effort, persistence, and passion. If I did not do well, he did not care about the grade. He cared that I learned from my mistakes. He would go over my quizzes, tests and papers to make sure I understood the content so I would not make the same mistake again.
When I think about the value my father placed on education, I wonder how education would change if we all held our lessons to this standard. Rather than lesson objectives or “I can” statements, what if we analyzed every lesson through this lens? Is this lesson worthy of never being taken away? Will this activity teach my students something they will want to keep forever? Does this lesson really matter?
I worry that sometimes in schools we are moving towards streamlining – units, lessons and assessments. In our efforts to map, pace, and measure performance we might lose sight of the authenticity of curriculum. Education matters when it matters to the teacher and students creating it. We need standards, common assessments, and trajectories of study so all our students are exposed to a high quality, cohesive education. But we also need to create space for students and teachers to find their voice in these standards, common assessments, and trajectories of study.
This space is what makes education your own something no one can ever take away from you. As I collaborate with teachers, I want to remember to think about creating learning experiences that matter to students — lessons that are worthy of never being taken away.
This week we look at homework and connecting with families. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
Clare Landrigan founded Teachers for Teachers with Tammy Mulligan. She spends her days helping educators from New England and beyond do the hard, thoughtful, and rewarding work of improving schools for young readers and writers. You can read their latest thinking at their Perspectives blog.
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Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan give advice for talking with parents in What Reading Is Like: Sports Analogies to Use with Parents:
In Why I Hate Homework, Jennifer Schwanke shares her passionate views about homework as a principal and parent. When was the last time you talked with teachers about homework demands? This is an article you might use to open up some lively discussions:
Letters from Home are a wonderful way to build connections between home and school with learners of any age:
Reading logs continue to be a hot-button issue for many teachers and parents. In this blog entry, one mother explains why she dislikes them:
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Gretchen Taylor’s overscheduled middle school students have almost no time for reading outside the classroom. She finds that some reflective inquiry helps them build reading habits at home:
If your students are already comfortable with an unstructured requirement of 20-30 minutes of reading each night, you may find adding 10 minutes of writing at home works wonders in fostering writing skills. Katherine Sokolowski explains how the assignment works in her classroom:
In this week’s video, Beth Lawson confers with a child about her “about the author” blurb, a great chance to learn more about students’ home passions:
Helping parents learn to talk with their children about what’s going on in the classroom may be more valuable than any homework teachers assign. Max Brand shares some practical tips and prompts he gives to families to launch conversations at the dinner table or in the car:
In an encore video, Karen Terlecky leads her fifth graders through a discussion of their word study homework:
That’s all for this week!