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Let's get right to the point. Students are most interested in what they are interested in. In any classroom, the range of interests is infinite and changes whimsically. However, there are two things nearly every student is interested in: movies and music. That means movie scripts and song lyrics can be amazing reading resources in many ways.
What does it mean to “teach to the test,” and how is it different from “teaching to the rigor?” Many schools and districts give students round after round of reading and writing items that mimic the questions they will see on their state’s high-stakes assessment. Some educators believe practice makes perfect and, hence, more practice is better than less in increasing students’ odds for higher test scores.
Most students who struggle to read do so for reasons that have nothing to do with intellect or capability. With the right instruction, some patience, and a caring teacher, every student can be more, achieve more, and prove they are more than the limitations that categorize them.
A foundational ability of humans is the willingness to try things to see how they work out. This might be the most important talent we have developed.
American educators have a well-honed way of thinking about curriculum. Typically, district committees compare and then adopt a curriculum to meet specific goals or guidelines. More recently, curriculum adoption in math has been driven by state or national standards.
That ultra-basic approach—fed children learn better than hungry ones—has a counterpart in the realm of individualized strategies for dealing with struggling students.
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