Got a Minute: Dear old golden rule days

The temperatures have soared over the last week or so, making it feel like a mid-July summer day or more closely to home, true dog days of August.

Posted on 8/24/13

By Lee Coleman

Unofficially, the summer ended for kids last week when the school bell tolled, marking the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

The first day of school means different things for different kids but it always seemed to come with a nervous anticipation of things to come no matter how young or how old you were.

For me and my little brother, it always meant our mother busting through our bedroom door to wake us up for the first day screeching the old song, ’School Days’.

You remember: School days, school days, dear old golden rule days. Reading and writing and arithmetic, taught to the tune of the hickory stick.

Ah yes, bless my dear mother but she couldn’t sing her way out of a wet paper bag. Only the cutting, searing sound of her intentional attempt to be the worst screecher in the world would get through that bag.

But for some odd reason, we looked forward to that song and the first day of school.

The unexpected awaited us. And this year, the unexpected will take on a whole new meaning as students transition into the new common core state assessments that will replace the previous assessment criteria beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.

Educators and administrators have been going through training to prepare for the changes and their education will continue throughout the year.

“We’ve got a good start on the training,” Langdon Area Schools superintendent Rich Rogers said. “We’ll begin implementing the standards this year. We made a big investment in training and the Northeast Educational Service Cooperative provided us with most of the training and we were able to basically send all our elementary teachers and some secondary teachers to Devil’s Lake for training.”

In essence, the common core is designed to teach kids through critical thinking strategies, collaboration with each other, writing, reading, and the use of technology and social media for better understanding.

Rather than learning to just regurgitate facts and figures to complete multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank state assessments, the common core will open up new doors for students as they expand their horizons and prepare for life after high school.

“Technology is not just for the individual student,” said Lizzie Crowston, principal of St. Alphonsus Catholic School. “We want to integrate it into the curriculum and have the emphasis on teams doing some critical thinking strategies and using social media as part of their education.”

Munich superintendent Chuck Dunlop suggested older, average grade students could have some early difficulty adjusting to the common core but said by adapting to science, technology, engineering and math, the knowledge and understanding would come.

“We want to instill 21st century skills to learn math and science,” he said. “We will do that through projects that drive the concepts home.

“It has taken awhile but this is how education has evolved.”

Dear old golden rule days.