How can you tell whether someone has truly mastered a skill? What is the measurable indicator that a person really knows how to do something? These questions should be at the heart of every teaching decision . . . and every evaluation we make about the success of an educational program. Yet for many educators, and certainly for most parents, answers to these questions are anything but clear. Most of us have grown up in a “percentage correct world” where 100% correct is the best anyone can do. But is perfect accuracy the definition of mastery? . . . In fact, we see many children and adults who can perform skills and demonstrate knowledge accurately enough – given unlimited time to do so. But the real difference that we see in expert performers is that they behave fluently – both accurately and quickly, without hesitation.
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I was talking to Katharine about flow and sentence combining today.
Her take on the writing process:
- First combine as many sentences as you can.
- Then go back and un-combine the ones that need uncombining.
This reminds me of Marilyn Monroe’s principle for getting ready to go out.
Here’s how I remember it.
- Get dressed.
- Stand backwards in front of a full-length mirror.
- Turn around fast, glance at your reflection, and take off the first piece of jewelry that catches your eye, because that’s the piece that’s too much.
In the following questions, the first sentence of a paragraph is given. Your job is to “unscramble” the rest of the paragraph by putting the next five sentences in the correct order.
The other night, trying to revise the dyslexia passage, I convinced myself it couldn’t be done without adding new content.
Part of what’s distinct about Catherine’s and my curriculum is that we’re zeroing in on the basic building blocks of writing–phrases, sentences, and paragraphs.