As the odometer turned 48884, a mathematical palindrome, I wondered about the 50,000 mile warranties that would soon expire. And the endless phone calls and junk mailings about warranties . . .
I watched the green mile markers as I traveled . . . another mile completed.
The big ones are birth and death.
But what is in between?
Everything that happens in year 1 is a milestone:
that first bottle
that first cooing sound
that first “roll over”
that first “pulling up”
that first step.
And then as life progresses –
Age 5 – eligible for kindergarten
Age 13 – teenager
Age 18 – voting rights
Age 21 – adult rights
And then the “0” birthdays . . . 30, 40, 50 and beyond.
All these milestones are CELEBRATIONS!
For clarity, here is a definition of milestones:
What do milestones look like?
A fairly even and balanced stack of smooth, polished events?
Rough shapes, each one unique, that are part of a route?
Smooth shapes with a highly polished finish?
A combination of shapes, sizes, colors and routes?
Do we recognize and celebrate the scholarly milestones that grow our students into readers and writers?
Do we make allowances for alternate routes for students?
Must all students meet the exact same criteria at the same moment?
Who chooses the milestone path?
Milestones and benchmarks: Helpful? Harmful? Does it depend on how they are used?
Benchmarks that are used to “sort” students into colors, red/yellow/green, or groups for intervention or instruction may fall short of their goals because they are artificially imposed goals. They also may be goals that are set independently of the assessment measure being used. Benchmarks that are used in “punitive” ways to slow down instruction and build isolated skills that are not used in real world literacy activities may fit into the category of “unhelpful” or even harmful benchmarks. Benchmarks that require additional information to be collected including multiple reading and writing samples are a part of a “body of evidence” that covers many milestones . . . more than once! And more than one type!
What milestones are critical for your grade level? Why?