On several occasions, I have heard Alfred Tatum speak about textual lineage and the importance of offering young black men rich reading experiences that allow them to envision and learn about individuals who have made significant strides in their lives after overcoming difficult if not nearly impossible odds. He speaks about the texts that were important to him and explains the significance of those stories on his own life. Dr. Tatum spoke to me (literally and figuratively) causing me to think across the lineage of books that engendered thoughtfulness and persistence in the light of challenge and even despair. The books I remember were not stories of romance or juvenile comings-of-age but biographies of dedicated men and women who sacrificed personal comforts for sake of country, family, and God. Those texts anchored an appreciation for the power of language deep within my soul. As a young girl, I was a reader and a writer. As a grown woman, I continue to be both.
Dr. Tatum’s words also influenced me to reconsider my digital lineage–a lineage of shorter history than that of my general reading lineage but with a history. Today’s blog looks back over my digital lineage sharing my replies and comments to several selected blogs of the past six years–selected because though the dates have since passed the ideas continue to matter.
Dea Conrad-Curry Posted August 3, 2007 at 12:34 pm | Permalink
I’m on WordPress…any chance of being able to integrate that blog account into my wiki?
Dea Conrad-Curry | 2007-01-28 13:35
Will Richardson: Smart Mobs: News in the classroom
A former journalist myself, I empathize with the situation facing today’s newspapers. However, the fact is that technology has made me impatient–I seek immediacy. As a teacher in an increasingly technoliterate district, I embrace the power of online news and the fashion in which it and the SmartBoard can bring global issues into the classroom with economy both in words and in dollar signs: no having to place orders in advance, or collecting money to cover costs, or writing paper trails of invoices. And no trash to dispose of when the day is done, the discussion finished, and what was new is old.
Will Richardson: On Being “Clickable”
Okay. I’m a new blogger and not having the best of luck today, and though no one probably cares, especially since I’m blogging to a dated entry, I am going to give myself credit for persistence, since self-credit seems to be the theme of Will’s blog.
Moving on…so I’m new and the reason I’m new is that blogging is a class requirement. I taught school for sixteen years and though I did communicate with students using IM and before that email, I don’t know if I would have thought of blogging.
However, I no longer teach. A life altering event (three years ago Sunday) forced me to leave the classroom for one year and at the end of that year, I chose to reinvent myself which took me back to school. Here’s my point. Over the last three years, I have had opportunities to second guess myself, separated from friends and colleagues, but recently I found myself on the web…I, too, am clickable and in that is a sense of validation, evidently holding true for more than just me.
Teachers don’t use blogging with students for two reasons: one, they don’t know how, but more importantly, they don’t understand why. They are already found and comfortable in their environment. They are safe and among colleagues with similar interests, educations, incomes, and the like.
On the other hand, many of our students feel uncomfortable in the school setting. They are unsettled–because of the nature of adolescence, or because of violence or bullying, or because they experience repeated failures, or come from home environments that compromise school achievement.
Most teachers simply do not need nor do they understand the voice, the presence, the empowerment and responsibility that blogging, podcasting, etc. offers to kids who otherwise go unheard.
David Warlick: Out of Context but In-Sync
Dea Conrad-Curry | March 12th, 2007 @ 10:41 pm
The really cool thing about English is its dynamic nature. Words that were meaningless only hours ago are now ubiquitous: skyping, googling, blogging. And used as not only nouns, but verbs as well!!
But I really wanted to comment on the definition of rigor, or more precisely, the problems inherent with using a dictionary….even an online dictionary. Using a dictionary is a lot like using Google….oftentimes, one must scroll down the page to find the search term used in the context being sought. Had you looked a bit further, you would have seen the second definition for rigorous or rigor, either one: “marked by extremes of temperature or climate, barrenness of comforts or necessities, or other strenuous challenging obstacles.” This, I believe, is the context in which educators and education sees the term being used. Even the third definition is much more precise for the context being sought.
Another point–I agree, we don’t want our students “powering down” because they are coming to school. But students aren’t the only ones who need to “power up”–so do teachers and administrators and parents. Our society just doesn’t know how to teach the 21st century learner. Part of the problem is a difference in vision–they’ve been drowning in a sea of trite images for so long, they cannot retrieve and sort important concepts for retention or analysis. They need relevance, but the funds of their teachers (parents and formal educators–money and skills) are limited and shallow. On the other hand, what generation hasn’t clamoured for the same–relevance in face of shifting realities. Dating myself, I remember the 70′s and wasn’t that far removed from the 60′s unrest or restlessness (however you see it).
My concern–if those who were students then cannot provide relevance for students now–where will the students of the future generations be? How can those who are “powering down” possibly hope to capture the attention of the post technology learners if techgen checks out before the learning starts?
Tracy Rosen: Stop talking about classrooms that don’t work
Dea Conrad-Curry said | August 21, 2010 at 10:43 am
Your passion for teaching and learning evokes an image in my mind–of you at the keyboard, intense and focused on shaping feelings and intellect into words and phrases that convey with clarity the position you hold–I feel it and so must every other reader of your blog! Thank you for sharing in the “hope for the future”–the hope that learning can bring a new vision of potentiality to teachers and their students alike!!
Dea Conrad-Curry said | November 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm
Your blog validates my advice to teachers and schools wondering about purchasing new texts purportedly aligned to the CCSS. I say don’t rush out–no publisher can offer an aligned textbook until exemplars of performance have been made public. You develop the argument for my thinking–but I should not be surprised! I was an early adopter of your backward by design approach to curriculum design. Unfortunately, many are looking for a quick fix to meet the newest educational challenge. However, I believe that once exemplars are selected, quality teachers can make curricular and instructional changes without breaking the educational bank.
Richard Lee Colvin: Making the Common Core Standards Mean Something
Susan Ohanian: The Crocodile in the Common Core Standards | October 19, 2011
By: Dea Conrad-Curry | December 29, 2011 at 1:03 PM
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water
I personally heard David Coleman deliver the now infamous line: “…people really don’t give a shit about what you feel….” Perhaps the room fell quite because he said what many people already know. On the whole, people don’t give a shit how you feel about a text or piece of knowledge or a skill. However, teachers are smarter than David Coleman when it comes to doing the job they are trained and experienced at doing…one that Coleman has never held — teaching juveniles and adolescents. I agree with many that there are issues incumbent to the way the Common Core Standards were written, by whom they were written, and how that work was funded. However, what teachers need to do is deconstruct those standards to understand that even if David Coleman doesn’t give a shit about what young people think or feel, embedded in his own writing of the standards are opportunities to inquire about personal reflection and experience. Standard 1 at grade 2 reads: “Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.” The same standard at grade 5 reads: “Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.” The grade 2 standard allows for questions and reflections both about the reader’s personal feeling: What emotion does the text evoke in a reader and how does the author evoke emotion in the reader? The grade 5 standard based in inference requires that the reader think on their own, make a connection, and provide an inference that comes from how the mind puts literally stated or implied ideas together. Inferences are not made by the text. I’m not defending David Coleman. He is a big boy who chooses his own words. Perhaps he should be more thoughtful and consider the implications of his words. However, what I am proposing…or more strongly, what I am pleading with educators to do is to read the standards and determine what they mean for their instruction, their content, their students, and their schools. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Christina Hanks: “Tweet” is Not a Dirty Word
Dr. Dea says | February 2, 2012 at 2:56 am
Great post! Nice that you shared some of your “follows” and flattered to be among those in your list! I, like you, am finding my Twitter feed has become one of my major resources for news updates–and maybe my major source! I look for more educators to use Twitter as a resource for keeping up on educational and societal change and blogs to learn, share, and reflect on practice!
Dr. Dea Says | May 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm
Upon reading the tile of your entry, I was expecting a blogging (as opposed to a flogging, LOL), and in reading the opening paragraphs, I continued with expectancy wondering where this was going. However, the final paragraph rounded the turn and I thought, “Yes, he has it now!” So, I am grateful you have found my blog and more than happy to link to yours.
Dea Conrad-Curry, EdD
Franki Sibberson: In the Classroom with Franki–Sharing my Life as a Writer
Dea Conrad-Curry | October 6th, 2012 at 8:59 am
Thank you for sharing that insight. I am working with a group of teachers new to writer’s workshop and I, too, had felt something missing. Like you, I am a writer of both print and digital text; like you, I placed the focus of my preparations in the old school of pen and paper. I am excited for the next meeting with my teachers. I plan to broaden their perspectives by sharing the many digital tools we all, as writers, use to express our thoughts, mentor our colleagues, and capture our memories.
Grant Wiggins: The break-things-into-bits mistake we have been making in education for centuries – happening today with standards
Dr. Dea said | April 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm
I am a bit concerned about the “way to go” backslapping attitude related to this post. Indeed, the big picture is important, but not all kids are going to get there. Sorry, but true. So, what are the steps along the way that must be mastered? And where do I know a student falls short if I don’t understand the steps to the final goal. Granted, one doesn’t need to be able to define words to carry out tasks, but the teacher does. Often, teachers look at a standard and say, “Yep, I do that.” When I hear that kind of response in a struggling school, I ask about the standard’s particulars (i.e. “what does analyze mean?” “what makes a sonnet different from any other poem?”); far too often, the room falls silent.
Microknowledge of disciplinary learning does not need to be the center of instructional attention, but must be incorporated as a focus for planning for instruction. Please, correct me if I’m wrong here…hasn’t your design always asked that Stage 1 of planning indicate “Desired Results” which not only delineates what students will know but also, what students will be able to do. These outcomes may naturally occur in varied orders–I may in fact be able to do something before I know why or how it works. For instance, I may be able to bake a cake from scratch without knowing what ingredients make that cake rise. However, if the among my learning plan is an outcome for knowing the leavening powers of soda, salt, buttermilk, eggs, and/or the incorporation of air during the beating process, then by the end of the learning, am I fragmenting instruction by expecting students to explain the process? On the other hand, will I have students that will be able to produce the product but never explain how it happens? That is a rhetorical question.
And so it goes…