A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
For one year, 365 days, this blog will address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of creating an alternate, ambient learning environment for math. Ambient is defined as “existing or present on all sides, an all-encompassing atmosphere.” And ambient music is defined as: “Quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times.Why ambient? A math teaching style that’s whole and all encompassing, with themes that repeat many times through the years, is most likely to be effective and successful.
Well readers I missed posting yesterday, for the first time in 115 posts. I attended a Stop Common Core town hall meeting, and it really did me in. It was encouraging to see such a big turnout. This was the last of a six stop tour here in California, that ended with a rally on the Capitol steps today. The speakers were:
Brad Dacus, President of the Pacific Justice Institute, making opt-out forms and information available to all who need/want them.
Dr. Sandra Stotsky, the only English Language Arts specialist on the Common Core Validation Committee, who refused to sign off on the new standards.
Lydia Gutierrez, a California teacher who asked, “What’s happening in public education; the fallacies of college and career readiness.”
Lots of excellent information and participant energy. So why did it do me in? First off, as an extreme introvert, crowds are not my scene. That aspect was challenging, but beyond that I had gone in with a jaunty optimistic slant: here are parents taking a stand for their families and kids’ teachers! Solid grass roots, right? Well yes but. But I removed the rose colored glasses after seeing the depth and breadth of the Common Core machine. And how very challenging a fight this really is.
Add to that the challenge of being a Waldorf educator and facing the daunting obstacle of speaking for an educational system that, for all the advances it’s made over the years, is still sidelined. As is Rudolf Steiner, its founder. Then there’s this blog. What and why is it, really? When I mentioned my goal with the blog last night: that of taking each Common Core standard and attempting to put it in a child-friendly light, it prompted blank or disbelieving responses. “You’re doing what? Why? Well, good luck with that . . .”
Sooo, one starfish at a time I suppose. See below for this story. And here’s a wonderful statement from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of that knowledge as a worthy goal.
An old man walked the beach at dawn. He noticed a boy ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Finally catching up to the boy, he asked why he was doing this. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun. “But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish,” said the old man. “How can your effort make any difference?” The boy looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it safely in the water. “It makes a difference to this one,” he said.