Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forward

My son Oliver and I have been reading The Captains Dog by Roland Smith. It tells the story of Lewis and Clark from the point of view of Lewis’s dog. Never did I think I would be applying the story of Lewis and Clark to a blog, but here I go.

For the past year and a half, I have been part of a four person team piloting HST standards into social science for our district. Over that time, we have incorporated primary sources, looked at author’s purpose, taught objective summary, and written argument and informational pieces. Overall, its been a great success.

Today when our team got together, we found ourselves stuck, not really sure how to move forwards, and questioning the things we’ve already done. It was by far our toughest meeting, and none of us were sure of what to do, or where to go.

It wasn’t until we went looked at what we had (or hadn’t) done earlier that we realized where our problems were. In teaching argument writing, we spent time teaching elaboration of evidence and academic vocabulary, but never did we teach students how to actually write an argument. Once we realized that, it became easier for us to figure out how to move ahead.

If you walk into a brick wall, at some point you realize that no matter how hard you push ahead, you aren’t going anywhere. You need to turn around, and find a new route. We need to do the same thing with our students, rather than pushing ahead when they clearly aren’t ready to move in that direction, take a few steps back, and find the new path. And remember, when there isn’t a path for you, you can always be an explorer like Lewis & Clark, and make your own.



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