Fred Klonsky, the best under-published cartoonist on education issues:
In working to make quality common, and valuable, W. Edwards Deming seems to have learned a little about life along the way.
In 1989, he sketched out this diagram.
I think it speaks for itself, but what do you think?
Tip of the old scrub brush to Richard Sheridan, from whose Tweet I took the diagram.
If you ask me, we don’t have enough poetry in our lives.
In bygone times, newspapers carried poems almost daily. Magazines carried poems in every issue, but today you find fewer poems published in fewer magazines — can you name the periodical publication in which you last saw a poem that caught your eye, or heart?
Rhyme and meter power their way into our minds. Teachers who use poetry find lessons stick longer with students.
Shouldn’t we use a lot more?
Since 1996, several groups including the Academy of American Poets have celebrated National Poetry Month in April. There are posters,and of course April is a month with several poems to its credit — Paul Revere’s Ride, The Concord Hymn, To a Lady with a Guitar, An April Day, The Waste Land, and several poems just about April as a month.
It’s a good time to beef up our poetry tool boxes, if we are managers of organizations, or teachers, or parents, or human.
Poetry lovers gave thought to how to do that, and there are many good recommendations out there. For example, from Poetry.org, 30 activities for National Poetry Month 2014:
30 Ways to Celebrate
|Take a poem out to lunch
“Adding a poem to lunch puts some poetry in your day and gives you something great to read while you eat.”
|Put a poem on the pavement
“Go one step beyond hopscotch squares and write a poem in chalk on your sidewalk.”
|Recite a poem to family and friends
“You can use holidays or birthdays as an opportunity to celebrate with a poem that is dear to you, or one that reminds you of the season.”
|Organize a poetry reading
“When looking for a venue, consider your local library, coffee shop, bookstore, art gallery, bar or performance space.”
|Promote public support for poetry
“Every year, Congress decides how much money will be given to the National Endowment for the Arts to be distributed all across America.”
|Start a poetry reading group
“Select books that would engage discussion and not intimidate the reader new to poetry.”
|Read interviews and literary criticism
“Reading reviews can also be a helpful exercise and lend direction to your future reading.”
|Buy a book of poems for your library
“Many libraries have undergone or are facing severe cuts in funding. These cuts are often made manifest on library shelves.”
|Start a commonplace book
“Since the Renaissance, devoted readers have been copying their favorite poems and quotations into notebooks to form their own personal anthologies called commonplace books.”
|Integrate poetry with technology
“Many email programs allow you to create personalized signatures that are automatically added to the end of every email you send.”
|Ask the Post Office for more poet stamps
“To be eligible, suggested poets must have been deceased for at least ten years and must be American or of American descent.”
|Sign up for a poetry class or workshop
“Colleges and arts centers often make individual courses in literature and writing available to the general public.”
|Subscribe to our free newsletter
“Short and to the point, the Poets.org Update, our electronic newsletter, will keep you informed on Academy news and events.”
|Write a letter to a poet
“Let the poets who you are reading know that you appreciate their work by sending them a letter.”
|Visit a poetry landmark
“Visiting physical spaces associated with a favorite writer is a memorable way to pay homage to their life and work.”
How will you use National Poetry Month in your classroom, teachers? And by “teachers, ” I mean you, math teachers, social studies teachers, phys ed teachers, biology and chemistry teachers. You don’t use poetry? No wonder America lags in those subjects . . .
What’s do you remember about your teachers’ use of poetry in learning?
What’s your favorite poem?
- National Poetry Month homepage at the Academy of American Poets
- Bellingham, Washington, celebrates National Poetry Month, even opening a new library
- Los Gatos, California, takes poetry seriously, with a city Poet Laureate, Erica Goss, who has a bunch of stuff scheduled for the month (yes, Los Gatos is close to Los Gatos Canyon, subject of a Woody Guthrie song about the 1948 crash of an airplane carrying migrant workers to be deported)
- Paso Robles, California, celebrates with flags created from library patrons’ favorite poems
- Teachers Scholastic has a bunch of resources for teachers
- National Poetry Month at Read/Write/Think
Too late for most of us, but history teachers near Sherman, Texas, ought to zip out as soon as school is out this afternoon, and head over to Austin College.
From North Texas e-News:
Bigelow to share insight on political evolution of Woodrow Wilson
SHERMAN, TEXAS — Nathan Bigelow, Austin College associate professor of political science and chair of the Department of Political Science, will present “The Evolving Political Thought of Professor Wilson” on March 5 at 4:30 p.m. in Wright Campus Center, Room 231. A 4 p.m. reception in nearby Johnson Gallery precedes his presentation, which highlights his recent sabbatical study. The event, free and open to the public, is hosted by the Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching.
Bigelow said his talk will focus on the bookends of Woodrow Wilson’s academic career: Congressional Government (1880), in which he made a broad critique of the American constitutional system, and Constitutional Government (1908), written just before he left academia for a career in politics, in which he reassessed many of his original positions. “I contend that his evolving thought can be traced to changes in the political environment during this time – specifically, increased party discipline and invigorated presidential leadership,” Bigelow said.” I will use newly available quantitative measures of this time period to help support my argument.”
The Robert and Joyce Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching, is directed by Bernice Melvin, Margaret Root Brown Chair of Foreign Languages and Literatures and professor of French. Within the mission of the center is the encouragement of ‘bold exploration of intellectual frontiers” and “fostering lively intellectual dialogue within and across academic disciplines.”
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives.
Texas history and social studies teachers have been working to bolster teaching of the Progressive Era, Imperialism, and important figures of those times including Woodrow Wilson, after testing indicated Texas students are too often unfamiliar with the times and events. Sherman area history teachers are lucky to have this close by.
I’ve been unable to discover whether professional education credit will be offered.
I played high school football. Untalented in virtually every other sport, I kept my place in 6th Period Athletics working with the basketball team, keeping statistics and keeping the official score book when we traveled. That was in the era when UCLA’s basketball team dominated the NCAA championships (save for 1966, when Texas Western managed to sneak out of the west and take the title from Kentucky . . . a story for another occasion). I cannot count the times coaches discussed the wizardry of the coach at UCLA, who seemed to be able to weave a winning team from any talent.
Our basketball team had some great talents — Stan Crump, Clark Hansen, Jim Brock, Steve Whitehead, Craig Davis, Parke Hansen and Sam Robinson come to mind. But we played up a level in our league play, and rarely won. Injuries kept the seven I named from playing together in any one game through their last season. Brock, Whitehead and Parke Hansen would have been the most formidable front three in our league, including the schools twice our size; I’d have to check to see if we were able to get two of them on the floor at the same time in even half our games. Never all three. Wooden’s ability to win constantly at UCLA was both an inspiration and a taunt.
Our football coach used to say you win games, or you build character. We built a lot of character, in football and basketball.
In our junior year, we got a new wrestling coach who followed many of the tenets of John Wooden — and the wrestling team won the state championship in our senior year. Mark Sanderson led the team; his younger brother Steve Sanderson followed him, adopted winning ways, and went on to father the great Sanderson wrestlers out of Heber, Utah. Winning can be contagious when solid teaching meets young talent.
In my senior year (IIRC) my sister bagged a couple of tickets for the NCAA basketball regionals, at the University of Utah. I got to see our local powerhouse (then) Weber State, and ultimately, the winning UCLA Bruins crush all comers.
Years later, when I consulted with corporations, especially on quality and excellence in performance. I often came across framed quotations from John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach — often framed, or etched in brass or stone, hanging on the wall of executives. Wooden’s words on getting great performance rang true with crew bosses, executives and everybody in between.
In a meeting on the importance of elders in a church congregation, national church officials referred back to the dramatic testimony from people in a California church, who swore an elder in their church had turned their lives around. Turned out that John Wooden was that Disciples of Christ elder.
How does a guy get so good, and say stuff that is so applicable to peak performance coaching in several different areas?
There’s a new book out on the coach, John Wooden: A Coach’s Life, by Sports Illustrated writer Seth Davis. Charlie Rose interviewed the author tonight. At the close, Rose showed a clip of Wooden being interviewed with Bill Walton and Bill Russell; Walton talked about how he’d been inspired by a visit to the Vietnam Memorial with Wooden, and the poetry Wooden recited from memory on that occasion. Past the age of 90, Wooden recited the poems again, poems he’d memorized for use in his classrooms when he taught high school.
This one is about teachers:
THEY ASK ME WHY I TEACH
They ask me why I teach,
And I reply,
Where could I find more splendid company?
There sits a statesman,
Strong, unbiased, wise,
Another later Webster,
And there a doctor
Whose quick, steady hand
Can mend a bone,
Or stem the lifeblood’s flow.
A builder sits beside him-
The arches of a church he builds, wherein
That minister will speak the word of God,
And lead a stumbling soul to touch the Christ.
And all about
A lesser gathering
Of farmer, merchants, teachers,
Who work and vote and build
And plan and pray
Into a great tomorrow
And I say,
“I may not see the church,
Or hear the word,
Or eat the food their hands will grow.”
And yet – I may.
And later I may say,
“I knew the lad,
And he was strong,
Or weak, or kind, or proud,
Or bold, or gay.
I knew him once,
But then he was a boy.”
They ask me why I teach, and I reply,
“Where could I find more splendid company?”
* They Ask Me Why I Teach,” by Glennice L. Harmon, in NEA Journal 37, no. 1 (September 1948): 375
Why do you teach?
- John Wooden’s TEDs talk (he recites this poem there)
- Review of Davis’s book, John Wooden: A Coach’s Life, in the Indianapolis Star
- Review of Davis’s book in the Dallas Morning News
- NPR interview with Davis, “An English Teacher Who Happened to Coach Basketball”
- I finally found a good copy of the poem, with what I hope is proper citing, here.
Addendum: Albert Camus’s letter to his first-grade teacher:
Russ Walsh gives strong voice to support from public education in a variety of ways — his old blog, Russ on Reading, carried a good deal of serious thought about the Common Core curricula recently, especially as it relates to reading.
Bookmark his site, and pay attention to what he says. This is a key issue in your state, in your schools, and in your legislature, today. If it’s not in your newspaper, you’re being steamrolled.
The Common Core State Standards in English/Language Arts has come under increasing scrutiny. Here is a collection of my posts from the past year on the Common Core and some of the concerns I have about the new standards and literacy instruction.
- The CCCS: Knowledge is Power
- The Common Core in English/Language Arts: A Critically Literate Reading
- Could the Common Core Widen the Achievement Gap in Reading/Language Arts?
- Stories Matter: Where Does Story Fit in the Common Core?
- Text Complexity and the Common Core: A Close Reading, Part 1
- Text Complexity and the Common Core: A Close Reading, Part 2
- What Constitutes Rigorous Reading?
- The Blue Guitar: Towards a Reader Response Approach to Close Reading
- Does Background Knowledge Matter to Reading Comprehension?
- Defending Reader Response from the Common Core
A note only because it’s necessary to keep reminding people in Texas: CSCOPE is/was not Common Core. Texas chose not to join in the Common Core Coalition years ago.
As if anyone were looking and needed light. The heat is intense, and the light seems superfluous.
First, Jack Russell Weinstein, a philosopher in North Dakota, of all places, seems to me to have accurately found the issue in Common Core discussions, better than almost anyone else (including Diane Ravitch, at least for succinctness), in a short post at his blog PQED from which this is excerpted:
Philosophically then, the question is how to negotiate federal and local power in education. We are also concerned with what counts as expertise. If we combine the two, we are faced with a third issue: who negotiates all of this? When the National Governors’ Association created the new Common Core—the standards that many American school kids will now be evaluated against—they relied more heavily on business than on teachers. They asked Microsoft and the standardized testing companies what they thought, and minimized the input of those who actually teach. They then assumed a purpose that suited their needs: they concluded that students should graduate from high school career and college ready.
Now, these are good goals. Our students should be ready to move on to the next stage of life. But where is the love of literature, the ability to communicate needs and political ideas, the capacity to respect both difference and personal experience at the same time? Where is the understanding of the importance of math, science, and history, and the celebration of being alive, in the world, surrounded by art, music, comedy, and neighbors? Leaving these things out of schooling is a bit like teaching your child to kick a soccer ball while convincing her that she doesn’t deserve the chance. It’s like putting her on a soccer team only to teach her to despise the game. It’s like sending your kids to school while telling them that education and teachers have little value. Surely, the first goal of education, like the first goal of soccer, should be to show why it’s worth doing in the first place.
Looking for a general link to Ravitch’s blog, I stumbled on this post, “Why Teachers Don’t Like Common Core”:
Why do teachers resist the mandates of Common Core?
We suggest money spent on the development of these major unresearched and unfunded mandates to implement CCSS be used to alleviate the lack of resources — unequal staffing, support services, and restoration of school libraries, music and art classes, as well as enrichment programs in these schools. Research has shown that this is the way to help even the playing field for the districts in poverty.
Teachers are mind-molders. When they embrace, create and implement meaningful change with their students, they are helping every child reach his or her potential. Teachers embrace constructive, researched change that result in better, meaningful learning. Resistance to the Common Core standards should be understood in this context.
Rabid CSCOPE critics in Texas, dedicated to the tasks of destroying teaching while failing to recognize what they do, won’t understand. First off they fail to recognize, as Dr. Weinstein explicitly does, that Common Core standards do not come from the federal government, botching the history of education and federal involvement from the get go. More important, few discussions start out with seeking the common ground we might find by asking the question, what is the purpose of this education system we work on?
Do any of us fully understand?
- Teachers face retaliation for criticizing Common Core (grumpyelder.com)
- Q&A: Common Core academic standards (bigstory.ap.org)
- Critical thinking hallmark of Common Core class (bigstory.ap.org)
- Five myths about Common Core school standards (miamiherald.com)
- Principals on Common Core: Standards are good, but more training needed (al.com)
- Inside school: navigating Common Core (northcountrypublicradio.org)
- Diane Ravitch: The Biggest Fallacy of the Common Core Standards (huffingtonpost.com)
- Catholic Scholars Blast Common Core (invisiblesource.wordpress.com)