A Happy Tale From a Common-Core Classroom
My classroom once hid a tale of two cities, largely driven by state testing. When I started teaching 16 years ago, the curriculum that I selected for my honors and intermediate students included a rich selection of fiction and, admittedly, a narrower range of nonfiction. Years of mandates and testing eroded that foundation, until my intermediate and honors students wound up on entirely different reading paths.
My honors students toiled at preparing for the Advanced Placement literature test, leading to a curriculum of mostly fiction and poetry. My students didn't come to me with a love of literature, so I often dragged them there with dramatic readings, exaggerated playacting, role-playing, and a level of hyperactivity generally considered unattractive in a woman in her 40s.
My nonhonors classes tipped the scale at the other end of the spectrum. No, we didn't gorge on nonfiction. In fact, we read very few complete works, either of fiction or nonfiction. We focused mostly on simple grammar...
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