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Meeting our Monsters: A Lesson in Text Synthesis; Presented by Sarah Brown Wessling

October 28, 2013

There are voices that can be overlooked. There are voices that can be quieted. And then there is a room of 300 teacher voices, speaking passionately and with profundity about their craft, their profession and their students.  Listening to teachers participate in the Teacher Town Hall during Education Nation reinforced for me, once again, the necessity of teacher voice when the dialogue about teaching and learning begins. We know that teacher voice brings a sense of realism to our 30,000 foot conversations. We know it also reverberates with the needs of their students. But, perhaps most importantly, it teaches us that this work teachers are called to do is complex and nuanced, a profession where thousands of tiny moments evolve into epiphanies.

Then, teachers do what they do best: they taught and they learned – from each other. As one of nine demonstrating teachers in the Common Core Teacher Institute, I was excited to share a slice of my classroom with my colleagues. Designed to reveal how texts can be in conversation with each other and not approached in isolated vacuums, I invited teachers to be learners and discover through a bundle of texts how monstrosity informs our humanity. Through close-reading, conversation and synthesis, this lesson and the corresponding lesson materials aimed to show the ways Common Core opens up opportunities to think.

And, now, there’s a chance for any teacher to engage in this work through the national Common Core Challenge that can be found on Teaching Channel. By watching video, analyzing lessons and engaging with great resources, we all can keep getting better.

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