Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, CommunicationI recently spent part of a morning as a volunteer in my daughter’s kindergarten class. I learn so much when I’m in there. I’ve taught in the middle grades and up, so I love having the chance to experience life in a primary classroom. And I’m always interested to see how my daughter interacts with her classmates. She’s a bright, creative, dramatic kid who definitely marches to the beat of her own drummer. Or, I should say, beat-boxes to the beat of her own drummer. This kid is never quiet.

This particular morning, she was at her seat attempting to get started on a seatwork assignment: cutting out little rectangles with words on them and gluing them into columns with others that rhymed. She had no interest in the assignment, something she likely would have been able to complete on her own a year ago. She was just bored. But her teacher told her that she would miss their beloved “center time” if she didn’t get her work done.

I found myself whispering to her to just get it done as fast as she could, that sometimes we just have to do a task to get it done so we can move on to something we’d rather be doing.

While this is certainly true, I’m not sure if it was the right thing to say, and it’s not how I want my child spending her time in kindergarten. I want her to come home bubbly with excitement about some experience, some activity, some thing that she got to play with/touch/interact with. I want her to know how much fun it can be to learn.

I want every child to come home bubbly with excitement and knowing how much fun it can be to learn.

As the implementation of the Common Core State Standards continues, I understand how easy it can be for a teacher to think that to meet the challenge of the more rigorous standards and the pressures of the related and coming assessments, the answer is more of the worksheet-based, kill-and-drill style instruction.

Instead, I like to see the new standards as an opportunity to rethink how we approach instruction, how we help students make connections to real life. Having the “4 C’s” posted on my wall helps me remember what we’re really striving for: to prepare kids to think for themselves, to work together, and to take what we know now and develop that into something new.

The possibilities truly are endless.

 

 

Fewer Worksheets, Please

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