Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Common Core: Sixth Grade Engage NY

I stay away from controversial topics when I blog. I'm not afraid of them, but that's not really the reason why I do this. However, this year I'm going to have to formally teach he dreaded Common Core as a part of my curriculum. This means I'll be doing EngageNY curriculum for the first time, actually teaching a curriculum so done else wrote and implementing that.

Yeah, I'm bristling against that for a lot of reasons. The first being that I don't have a lot of respect for the Common Core as a curriculum. It feels like a curriculum designed to be tested instead of a curriculum made to foster deep and meaningful learning. Well, this year I'm going to see.

For my sixth grade unit, I'm doing The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, which isn't a bad book by itself. In no way do ai feel it reaches the level of high-quality YA literature, but if done well it might be fun. This will be replacing my long established Greek Mythology unit. I've always focused when teaching Greek mythology on cultural literacy and the deep meaning of the myths themselves. The EngageNY unit will focus on the hero's journey, which makes me think it will be going all Joseph Campbell. That's not such a bad angle, but I still think the issue of cultural literacy and how the myths inform our daily lives is a more valid position to teach from.


I think the idea of the hero's journey is a valid one, and kids this age certainly loves heroes, but I wonder if this is the right age to discuss the concept. It's a heady one, and it doesn't lend itself to hard and fast conclusions. I also think the kids need a firm grounding in the classics before your start getting involved with comparative topics like this one. Well, I'll see.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

This looks like an interesting contest

I'm going to apply to this contest having just gotten some disappointing news from an editor at Harper Collins:

Dear Lucky Agent