The articles that caught my eye over the past few days related to #JoyOfLearning include one about reducing the amount of testing in math, one calling on teachers to help kids to find greatness (rather than just meeting standards), and one calling on teachers who care about kids' love of reading to reach out to help others.
Jo Boaler: "Students rarely think that they are in math classrooms to appreciate the beauty of mathematics, to ask deep questions, to explore the rich set of connections that make up the subject, or even to learn about the applicability of the subject; they think they are in math classrooms to perform...We know that the most productive math learning environments are those in which students receive positive messages about their unlimited potential and work on interesting and complex problems; in which they feel free to try ideas, fail, and revise their thinking."
Me: This article is excerpted from Boaler's new book, which I have just finished reading. Facilitating real learning in math is deeply important to me right now, because my kindergartener is already somewhat frustrated with the math education in school. I'm just glad to see people talking about this.
Rich Czyz: "Are we preparing students to be good enough or are we preparing them to be great?... . Many of our days are focused on making sure that students are meeting standards: that they can provide text evidence to support their thinking, that they can explain their conceptual understanding when solving a math problem. We must stop focusing on covering standards and instead, focus on uncovering all that students want to learn."
Me: This short piece is basically a call for teachers to help kids find greatness, without any detail on how they might do that. But I think that if more teachers set out to follow this path, many good ideas and outcomes would ensue.
Donalyn Miller: "I wonder how college-ready kids will be if they don’t read anything but test prep packets and excerpts from textbooks. If we graduate kids from high school who don’t read much and see little value in reading, we have failed...The administrators, teachers, and librarians who strive to remain current on literature for young people, invest time reading lots of books, and share our book knowledge with others may represent our profession, but we are not representative of many educators... How can we move beyond our own classrooms to improve our profession and the reading lives of children?"
Me: Donalyn is in general a strong voice for encouraging teachers to help kids learn to love reading. In this article, she laments the students who don't have teachers who take them to the school library, who don't have strong libraries in their classrooms, and who don't have books at home. She calls on those in the educational community who are trying to encourage reading to find a way to reach out to other schools and communities, too. There are many valuable comments on the piece.