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. Back to blogging again. Thanks to all who responded to the request for feedback. Reminder: MBH has a new website! Please take a tour, it’s new and improved! We will cover the last CCSS ELA post tomorrow, then on to the Grade 2 Mathematical Practice Standards. Lastly, a grand finale to say farewell to Grade 2, not sure what, but it will be grand.
Today’s post features a blog post from “The Art of Learning” re the Common Core and its troubled start, due largely to standardized tests that were faultily (or not at all) matched to the standards. Another major CC flaw as stated in this post is the “fool’s gold” of the data mining that’s become so endemic with implementation and testing.
“Schools have rushed to “unpack” the standards and hastily rolled out poorly designed scripted curriculum materials primarily to prepare students for the high stakes tests (that supposedly measure their teachers performance) rather than prepare students for learning.
The Common Core testing regime is more about satisfying data-driven enthusiasts’ ‘thirst” for more data, than it is about cultivating students’ thirst for knowledge.
We are witnessing an unprecedented data collection “gold rush”, while the validity and reliability of this “fool’s gold” is of little concern to those who are mining it.”
The most outstanding point in the Art of Learning blog post is the one-letter substitution calling for “vigor” rather than “rigor.” From the moment I first heard the CC mandate for rigor in the classroom, all the way down to Kindergarten (and pre-K) it was clear that this was not a child-friendly or for that matter, at all sensible approach. Rigor and children don’t mix, because children are too wonderfully spontaneous and inherently creative for rigor’s attempted implementation to work in any way.
Vigor however: yes, by all means! We as adults tend to “see through a glass, darkly,” so it behooves us to stretch our parameters and take a page from the little ones in our care. Infuse everything we set before them with enthusiasm (whose root comes from the Greek enthousiasmos or the adjective, entheos, meaning “the God within”) for the sheer wonder of every thing in the world around us.
Then the vigor we need to access for effective, authentic teaching will flow from the light of each subject at hand as we lovingly impart it. “Schooling should be about inspiring all of our students and helping them to discover their unique talents, while supporting them as they pursue their passions.
This will require more vigor in the classroom which is inherently student-centered, and much less concern about rigor in the classroom which is primarily standards and test-centered.” Read the blog post here.
Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of knowledge as a worthy goal. Tune in tomorrow for the last Common Core ELA standards and their ambient counterparts.