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. Today’s post will begin reviewing the Common Core ELA standards, moving through them more quickly than the Common Core math standards. The standards will be posted in groups of three to five in blue, followed by their ambient counterparts.
English Language Arts Standards > Reading: Informational Text > Grade 2
Craft and Structure:
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text..
Identify the main topic of a multi paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.
Have you ever seen a typical 8 year old closely reading the morning newspaper? An incongruous image, isn’t it. The Waldorf philosophy holds that the child comes into fully awake and aware consciousness extremely gradually, while slowly growing into a functioning member of the modern world. Here’s a look at how the each grade level fits into the cultural / developmental spectrum:
Grade 1: Fairy and Folk Tales
Grade 2: Fables and Saints/Heroes Legends
Grade 3: Creation Stories
Grade 4: Trickster Tales and Legends
Grade 5: Classical Civilizations: Greece, Egypt, India
Grade 6: Rome
Grade 7: Medieval History and the Renaissance
Grade 8: World History up to current.
The 8th grader then, not the 8 year old, would most likely be reading the morning newspaper. The unique nature of the young human requires a very long childhood. Until Piaget’s and other child development psychologists’ discoveries however, children were perceived as little adults and treated as such. Only after this cognitive research was accepted, was it generally acknowledged that the human brain develops according to its own time frame, in a slow and steady (wins the race) way. So, Race To The Top aside (let’s do please put it aside) we need to slow down, and let them be little.
A foundation can be built for this appreciation of informational text, on a deeper, less consciously abstract level, by including children in a healthy network of local friends and community. Have them participate in a civic way, from very early on. But please be the go-between, so that the world and its cares and concerns aren’t artificially foisted on the child before s/he’s ready to take it on.
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 to continue with the Common Core ELA standards and their ambient counterparts.