Can I just take a moment to express how much I love Chip Woods, the author of Yardsticks? This is what he writes in his blog:
"One of the remarkable gifts of childhood is children’s abilities to focus on and get the most out of the present moment. As educators, we have the responsibility to capitalize on this period of naissance and create the most rigorous, challenging, and exciting educational experience for them each year they are in school. We need to teach them to read and write, compute and problem solve. We need to teach them to help their classmates, school and community and to be personally responsible. We need to maximize the child’s developing cognitive and social skills every year in the context of curriculum that has meaning to the child now."--Chip Woods
It is helpful to have this reminder as teachers. Too many kids seem to have the weight of the world on their shoulders--how are they going to get into Harvard? What are they going to do in the future? How many medals are they going to earn in this activity or that one? I think that if we do it right, school can be a safe, fun place where kids can just learn, and grow, and just stay in the moment. It's a good reminder to teachers too, to just stay in the moment. Plan ahead, but love the curriculum we're teaching in the here and now, rather than racing to some deadline of "well, they have to know this for the test." It's a hard fight, particularly one in this era of make-or-break testing, but one worth fighting, nevertheless.
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