I knew immediately where it came from...maybe it's because I'm 62 and went to school during a time when the teachers weren't constantly making sure that we knew what was going to be on "the test."
Or maybe it's because my mother was a fan of the author...and I used to sit for hours looking at her book of poetry from which it came, wondering how on Earth anyone could write poems that long...
Whatever the reason, I knew it was Longfellow...and that it was about the "midnight ride of Paul Revere."
Nancy Flanagan knew as well and showed off that knowledge in one of her graduate classes. The point she makes is that there is more than one way to teach. We can teach with dry facts and lists. We can drill and kill for the test...or we can make school come alive with people like Longfellow helping to teach history.
Why aren't we using poetry to teach history?When the so-called reformers -- the Gates's, the Broads, the Duncans -- rail against the status quo they're referring to nothing that exists today. The real status quo is a killing curriculum based on mindless bubbles on a test. That's today's status quo...and that's no way to educate children.
Well, two roads diverged in a yellow wood...
And we chose easily measured standardized test questions.
So, sound the alarm...tell the people...it's time to overthrow the Red Coats of the Educational Status Quo...
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!