On a Mission


On a Mission

I’m on a mission,

personally and professionally,

to find ways to make Common Core work,

Every great mission involves sacrifice.

Today it’s Sunday afternoon,

chained to my laptop,

questioning how to bring to fulfillment

the good work begun in Notice and Note.

My mission,

Finding a way for Common Core

close reading

not to bore

and how it can be restored–

with humanity at the core.

This mission

will always be in process,

hopefully my mission will

involve construction

and salvation,

not destruction–

as many missions do.

At Starbucks,

working on a presentation,

to share my mission,

a disciple of literacy and humanity,

joined in unity.

Trying to find what it really

means to read closely.

Trying to find a way

for Rosenblatt’s legacy

to live–through me–

through this wave of Common Core.

Trying to find the way for will and skill

to survive as all readers are


Yes, I do

give a sh** about what they

think and what they feel,

and so should the rest of humanity–

even David Coleman.


13 thoughts on “On a Mission

  1. So feel your post. I’ve struggled for the past year with what I’ve learned about close reading. Then Note and Notice … a breath of fresh air in gaining an understanding of close reading that I could work with without selling my soul. Love your last line, “Yes, I do…” My sentiments exactly. : ) I do use Coleman’s quote, “Read like a detective and write like an investigative reporter.” when explaining close reading for staff pd. I’m sure I’m using out of the context that he intended.


  2. Your post is awesome and reflects so much of what I think, too. Thanks for caring so much and for validating that we should care about the living, breathing, thinking human children and all of humankind when implementing the next big thing that politicians require.


  3. I think there’s so much good about the Common Core. What scares me is the way some people are interpreting it (as a mandate). Have you read Pathways to the Common Core by Calkins, Ehrenworth, & Lehman? I think it’s one of the most uplifting books that can empower districts and schools to look at the CCSS as a real positive.


  4. I love how you end your poem. It is caring about what our students think and feel that matters most. If we don’t care, all else is lost. I haven’t read Notice and Note yet, but it is on my list. I’m almost through Calkins’s Pathways to the Common Core, and it has been very encouraging. Common Core will be what we make it if we are willing to stand up for what we know is best for our students.


  5. Your poem speaks to the frustration of implementing when we haven’t blazed the trail. I am looking for close reading information for lower primary, so I know what you are going through. Slowly we will figure it out.


  6. Great post! You touch on so many concerns that I’m struggling with, too. The more of us who share this mission, the better our chances of implementing the CCSS so our students truly benefit.


  7. I began and skimmed Pathways at the beginning of the schoolwork, but I stopped because I got busy and found myself frustrated with the state’s CC units given to us. I need to revisit it. I just asked my friend to return it to me, so I will be digging back in. Whatever we are given to teach, we still have to find what’s best for kids, even with restrictions, demands, and mandates.


  8. Elsie, I am keeping my eyes out and thinking of you as I look at resources. I think this book could be modified, but I think when students are learning to read it’s hard to make them do so much. I bet, though, you could modify it to work with simplifying the language and the anchor questions. I think it would be worth looking into.


  9. Coleman bores me–I felt like I was in the Birmingham Jail trying to make it through that close reading video. I cannot imagine teaching like he lectures, but he is a brilliant man with some good ideas. At the same time, though, in other ways he is clueless. He really doesn’t know what it is to be one of us, in the trenches, day after day, trying and retrying and modifying as we attempt to find how to best reach kids on all levels.


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