September 1, 2014

When is More Less?

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In conversations with our readers, people have shared with us that they have often wondered how we maintain such a rigorous writing schedule being that their days barely allow them the time it takes to read our daily posts. We, too, feel this pressure of time and while there are many days that we scramble to meet our deadline and wish that we could commit time to other projects and facets of our lives, we soldier on because this blog has become something of a labor of love.  That said, we have come to realize that in producing two hundred sixty something articles, there is much content that busy educators or new readers might have missed. Over the next few days, we will make an effort to curate some of our work.  Our goal for looking back over our earlier posts is twofold: 1. We hope to recognize themes and notice places where we might be a little off balance and 2. We hope to make it easier for readers to access some of our earlier, but still relevant material.

Once again, it is our hope that you as you journey back through this year of writing, you share your thoughts about what we have written and about what you’d like us to write more. :)

Balancing Acts

We love when opportunities arise that allow us to talk face-to-face with our readers.  Hearing feedback about this blog helps us to keep our work in perspective and to reflect on topics that we we may need to revisit. As we’ve been speaking with some of our readers, it’s come to our attention that our writing has been interpreted by some as opposed to the Common Core while others see us as hardcore proponents of the Common Core. This paradox constantly makes us want to revisit the biggest theme of our work: balance.

We began this writing journey nearly a year ago.  One of the first articles we wrote was one titled, What Can We Learn from ‘Close Reads’ of the Common Core.  In this post, we presented two polarized perspectives of the Common Core, one that viewed the standards as “a gift for educators and students” and a second that presented them “as a straight jacket for educators and students.” In this post, we quoted the Buddhist proverb, “Things are not as they seem, nor are they otherwise” to reflect our position which views the standards as something neither “completely horrible, completely fabulous, nor so-so.”   In this post, we set out to be “thoughtful practitioners who read these documents thoroughly with a mind toward what is inherently wise and what is limited in the standards.”

In April, we circled back around to this topic of balance in our post titled Poetic Detour.  As we neared the end of our weeklong celebration of poetry, we looked at poetry as “a metaphor for thinking and living creatively.” We discussed the difficult position that the standards present to teachers working to understand them well enough to implement them. We noted that our explorations of the Common Core needed to be “positive and fair” without being “naive” and urged teachers to “maintain balance between whatever competing forces are working within our heads.”

When we began our exploration of the Common Core, we committed to keeping our own tendencies to “find the parts we like, the standards with which we agree…and emphasize these parts,” in check. (from Seeing the Common Core in Our Own Image) As we look back over our posts, we recognize places and times where we have veered from that ideal leaving the occasional reader to see us as either Common Core lovers or haters. And as we began by saying, we appreciate the feedback that you provide that makes us check in with ourselves to make sure that we honor the one thing we value most on this journey: Balance.

As we near our first year anniversary, we’d like to recommit ourselves to our mission of maintaining a balanced perspective as we read, write, and think about the Common Core standards.  We hope that you help us work toward this goal by continuing to  provide your thoughtful feedback and ideas!

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