Ice Age Animals from Malta

19 Nov

No not those….  Side note, I think that, “Ice Age Animals from Malta” would be a great rock group name!

Today I went to a reading conference in my district and had the great honor and enjoyment to hear from Dr. Tim Rasinski.  Tim (cuz, you know, we’re on a first name basis.  To my credit, I did tell him where the auditorium was) spoke to use about the art and science of teaching reading. 

He touched on the fact that teaching is (and still should be) an art.  We should be excited about teaching and our students should be excited about learning. 

Unfortunately right now we are in a place of teaching tot the test and kill and drill. Dr. Rasinki had a great quote from Diane Ravitch…”Drilling children on how to take tests discourages innovation and creativity, punishes divergent thinking, and prioritizes skills over knowledge. And the endless hours devoted to test preparation certainly deaden students’ interest in school.”

How true is that!

So where do the, “Ice Age Animals from Malta” come into play?  He used that text (not that there is anything “wrong” with it) as an example of how we are so worried about our students reading quickly, that the text doesn’t even matter.  Seriously, “Ice Age Animals from Malta” do you want to read that book?  We want our students to read faster and with “fluency” that we are creating NASCAR readers.  Meaning that their reading rate is quick to be discerned as a good reader, but they are really not paying attention to the content they are reading.

He also talked about how singing and listening to songs can help build fluency and better readers.  I wholeheartedly agree.  Think of you when you were younger how many Pearl Jam, Coolio, Rancid…songs did you know by heart? 

Yes I grew up in the 90’s what of it!? I still know all of the words to Alive by Pearl Jam!

Wouldn’t it be awesome if kids could make up their own lyrics to Alive, but about content they were learning in school?

I’ll step off my soap box…

I think it is important to think about what we are teaching the next generation and how what we teach them/tell them now will impact all of us later on…




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