I’m all about the guest bloggers these days. Today I’m welcoming the return of Reuben Duncan, Assistant Superintendent in our own SAU 29 here in Keene. Thanks for sharing, Reuben!
Green Day, The Offspring, U2, Eve 6, and Blind Melon. These are bands that help me clear my mind when everything starts to get jumbled up. I don’t exactly know why I feel this music helps me to reflect and organize my thoughts. I mean, those of you who have lis-tened to The Offspring for any duration of time might actually feel driven to destroy any organization you have developed. I don’t know…maybe the predictability of the sound and lyrics of The Offspring is what makes it so calming to me. It’s kind of like listening to Aerosmith; every song sounds the same, but they’re cool.
SAU 29 has done a lot of work this year with data, standards, unit design, and of course, teaching. A lot has transpired this year on many fronts, and it is at this time of the year when I find I start to get tired. I meet with leaders from around the state, and many have told stories of how people in their schools are overwhelmed with the Common Core and all that goes along with it. Their stories remind me of the lyrics to my favorite song by Eve 6, Inside Out
I burn, burn like a wicker cabinet, chalk white and oh so frail I see our time has gotten stale The tick tock of the clock is painful All sane and logical, I want to tear it off the wall I hear words and clips and phrases I think sick like ginger ale My stomach turns and I exhale I would swallow my pride, I would choke on the rinds But the lack thereof would leave me empty inside Swallow my doubt turn it inside out Find nothin’ but faith in nothin’ Want to put my tender, heart in a blender Watch it spin around to a beautiful oblivion Rendezvous then I’m through with you.
This song about a relationship gone sour reflects the sentiments of many. “I see our time has gotten stale.” Or perhaps, “My stomach turns and I exhale,” to the point of, “Rendezvous then I’m through with you.”
However, in SAU 29, what we have seen is something completely different. During the Keene early release days, teachers from across the grade levels and subject areas have inspired one another through collaboration and creativity. During the January work-shop day, all town schools came together for a day focused on performance tasks, unit planning, and working together. The response to all of this collaboration has been very positive, and many have indicated that it has been rewarding – time consuming – but rewarding nonetheless.
Many teachers have completed units, have taught them, and have already started to refine their work. Others around the SAU are completing the unit development and will be implementing their plans during the April and May months.
The themes have been integration, relevance, authentic learning, higher order thinking, and becoming fully inclusive. As a member of the Keene Education Committee, I have been able to witness much of the work that has been developed. I can say first hand and can speak for those who sit on the committee that the presentations by various educators and schools have been inspiring and full of life. It is neat to see schools experiment and pilot approaches to teaching, such as Wheelock School’s use of the P.A.C.T. which promotes a unique approach to differentiation for all students. Last year, I wrote about The Daily Five read-ing approach. Many are using these types of personalized approaches to teaching and learning and find-ing noticeable success in their classes.
The Common Core is an opportunity for growth and for inspiration. In SAU 29, our time has not gotten stale. We have started down a journey togeth-er that will only make us stronger as a unit. Thank you all for your dedication and very hard work!