To the Editor:
Last spring, my students read the excellent book Chalk, by Bill Thomson, in which chalk drawings come alive. We spent some time planning our own chalk drawings, and on a sunny day we blocked off our parking lot, opened buckets of chalk, and turned the children loose. They left a whole lot of learning on the pavement. Rain, the very next day washed it all away.
Last fall, my school district began the process of rolling out the new common-core state standards. We were mandated by the district’s timeline to have the common-core standards on our curriculum maps ready to use beginning this fall. My colleagues and I used collaborative time during the year and workshop time after school to do just that. We aligned them with the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards, and Head Start Framework, as well as our assessment tool. We developed some common formative assessments that will help us understand student progress. Now we are incorporating them into our lesson plans.
Proud of our accomplishments, we are planning to do the same for math this year. Yet, after reading the Aug. 10, 2011, issue of Education Week, I wonder if it is all just chalk on the pavement. Andrew C. Porter’s “Oh dear, this might not work” message is incredibly disheartening (“In Common Core, Little to Cheer About,” Commentary).
Educators in Wisconsin need some good news, some encouragement. I want assurance that the work my district and my school are doing with the common core is not just chalk on the pavement that will vanish in the next rain.
Teacher, Head Start/Early Childhood
Merrill Area Public Schools
A version of this article appeared in the August 31, 2011 edition of Education Week as Could Common Core Be ‘Chalk’ on the Pavement?