Okay okay okay!

So, we’re going to play a little game with ELA standards for a minute. I don’t care whose standards they are. Could be the ones from my state or your state or whoever’s state.

Now, I’m wondering what would happen if we took the real work of kids, the work that they do outside of school, on their own time (because they love doing it) and we introduced them to the standards and asked them to begin thinking about how this work of theirs aligns?

I know. This is craziness.

Still here?

Okay, one more thing: what if we THEN asked kids to identify which standards they haven’t yet addressed in their own work on their own time?

And then? Then?

What if we studied this a bit ourselves….the work they do, the standards they meet, and the gaps that may exist….and we help them fill in the blanks in ways that matter to them? I know this is but a dream. I know that there are all sorts of rational and sane reasons why this will *never* work. I know what we are already doing is working so much better. I know. I know. I’m sorry.

Thank you for bearing with me.

I’m finished now…….hey wait…is that a siren I hear in the background?



  1. your ideas are not crazy. as i said on twitter, i’m doing something like this now. kids choose their own reading (from a menu of choices), worked at their own pace, ready as much as they could and now they’re doing assignments they created about a month ago. yes, it’s messy. and i couldn’t do it all year. and it isn’t exactly what you’re suggesting, but it is kids determining what they need to do.
    we also do two question tests. students have to keep working until everyone gets both questions right. they just bring up their responses, i say yes or no, and then they either fix or quit. by the end of the period, i’ve given a test that gives me quite a bit of information and the tests are graded.

    • Thanks Nancy! I am wondering how this sort of approach gels with traditional notions around the purpose of the “big bad evil” standards and processes like curriculum mapping and gap analysis and all of that good stuff. Hmmmm….really just batting things around in my own head a bit.

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