Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Information Text: Golden Books & Common Core

The Common Core makes a big point that students should become better readers not just of literature but also of informational text. It seems that students, as they look for work, are generally not hired to read stories with plots, themes, characters, foreshadow, and other literary devices.  They are hired to work on non-fictional issues and so they need to be able to read articles about the real world. For instance, in the last week, I've had people read articles about new trends in search engine algorithms, social media marketing platforms, technologies, and markets.

This sort of reading is about informational texts and it's considered to be a very modern idea.  Many of the people who oppose things, like conservatives and high school English teachers, seem to feel that this is a bad change.

I myself was brought up in my early years on Little Golden Books.   This back cover of a Golden Book is the one used on informational text, not a story.  I've tried to find out what percent of hte books were informational versus story and so far, no answer.

I did discover that the Pokey Little Puppy was by far the best selling Golden Book of all time. I remember it well. In fact, I had the record of it and I remember it very well.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wings & Roots, Baby

Wings and Roots, Baby....

Sometimes I ask my cousin for guidance on parenting. He's a good parent and full of advice. I always thinks about it and rarely follow it.  I do remember asking him once about how much responsibility should I be placing on my teenage daughter.  It had something to do with high school or a high school summer. What I do remember is his answer: "Wings and Roots, Baby."

"Huh?" I said.

He points me towards a famous poem that said that the two most valuable things that a parent can give to their children are wings and roots. Roots of basic values, knowing that they are loved no matter what, that they have people who will do anything for them, and all that a family can give to a child to make them feel grounded and know from whence they come.

Wings is the freedom and aspiration to move beyond their heritage.  To have the courage and vision to know that they are an individual with a life that can be lived in so many ways.  They should be free to soar.

This complements one of my other favorite ideas about parenting. It's the idea that the best gifts a parent can give to children are the ones that they can swim away from a shipwreck with.

Here's the poem.

Wings & Roots, By Denis Waitley
If I had two wishes, I know what they would be

I'd wish for Roots to cling to, and Wings to set me free;
Roots of inner values, like rings within a tree;

and Wings of independence to seek my destiny.
Roots to hold forever to keep me safe and strong,

To let me know you love me, when I've done something wrong;
To show me by example, and helps me learn to choose,

To take those actions every day to win instead of lose.
Just be there when I need you, to tell me it's all right,

To face my fear of falling when I test my wings in  flight;
Don't make my life too easy, it's better if I try,

And fail and get back up myself, so I can learn to fly.
If I had two wishes, and two were all I had,

And they could just be granted, by my Mom and Dad;
I wouldn't ask for money or any store-bought things.

The greatest gifts I'd ask for are simply Roots and Wings.