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Common Knowledge

November9

Common Knowledge

Is common knowledge all that common anymore? 

In a world of technology with instant internet access it seems as though perhaps common knowledge is no longer something to be taken for granted. Before the age of word processors I was able to spell pretty much any word that was thrown at me. Now I have become so reliant on spell check that I stumble at times over the simplest of words. It is frustrating.

That being said, what is so common about common core? I know different use of the word. But still, I would hope that common core would be common knowledge or that it would become such. Common core is not changing the content but rather changing the engagement of the students toward how the content is disseminated. (BTW, I spelled that correctly!)

Instead of simply reading a book, common core relies heavily on questioning and analyzing its contents. Does this mean that reading for pleasure is no longer accepted? NO. It means that reading leads to a deeper understanding. I have always been of the belief that reading teaches more than I could ever teach someone. However, reading and questioning teaches even more.

Should libraries/librarians change everything that they have done in the past to meet common core standards? I don’t think so. I think we should just be pushing the analysis level of what is being read or researched.

It’s not so hard to do on a small scale to get started. When a student returns a book after reading it, ask them a few questions about it. Don’t drill them; just be interested in what they have to say about the book. From this the why and what if questions can arise. Granted it is not a full lesson to meet common core standards, but it is a way of helping students to engage more about what they are reading.

If you are a teacher (not just English teachers) this method can work for you as well. Remember what I said about reading being a great teacher? Yep, that means for all content areas. A student who becomes more analytical about novels should certainly be able to transfer that ability to a math or science problem, right? Students who question what they read in a book will hopefully be able to use that same skill to question issues in social sciences. Recognizing sentence structure used in both fiction and non-fiction certainly helps the student as a writer and analysis of literature…well, that should be a given in an ELA class.

Fine Arts, you ask? Why yes. How much inspiration for painting or sculpting in period form can come from reading about a certain time period? Would a play be better understood if the setting were better understood through reading background information? The history and uses of food and spices could enhance a culinary arts class.

I could go on and on and on….But I will not.

Reading is not the main ingredient (spell check caught me here) of the common core standards. But I am a librarian/media specialist after all. I love to promote reading. I love to see the understanding come alive when students find just the right book and learn to like and then love to read.

I love to see students succeed; it is what makes my job so enjoyable. Well, that and the fact that I am surrounded by books! 🙂

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