We hear the word “Rigor” all the time; however, do we implement classroom practices that are truly rigorous? Here’s a quick guide to Webb’s Depth of Knowledge levels and some examples of activities for each rigor level. Do you involve all levels? (info from Hess, K. & The Common Core Institute.)
As a result of the Curriculum Audit feedback, many teachers have been re-mapping their standards.
Although sometimes difficult, the conversations and discussions are a fruitful way to blend our expectations and horizontal pacing so that every Canton Local student can benefit.
Here are grade 2 & 3 level teams organizing their instructional year:
“Contrary to popular belief, writing isn’t something that only ‘writers’ do; writing is a basic skills for getting through life. Yet most American adults are terrified of the prospect--ask a middle-aged engineer to write a report and you’ll see something close to panic. Writing, however, isn’t a special language that belongs to English teachers and a few other sensitive souls who have a ‘gift for words’. Writing is thinking on paper. Anyone who thinks clearly should be able to write clearly--about any subject at all” (Zinsser, Writing to Learn)
As Zinsser states, writing is a part of thinking. If teachers do not utilize the power of writing within their content area classrooms, students experience a disadvantage to their learning. Why should any content area teacher use writing for thinking? Steve Peha (2003) states the following reasons:
1. Written output is a great way to assess student knowledge.
Teachers are able to assess each individual student’s understanding of concepts.
2. Writing is the essential skill students need as they enter adult life.
Writing (of any sort) is an output. It should sort and organize information for the reader and his/her audience.
3. Helping students learn to express themselves with confidence in all subject areas can contribute to improvements in behavior and self-esteem.
Adolescent students, especially, benefit from being able to write out their feelings and frustrations.
4. Students who write clearly, think clearly. And students who think clearly have a better chance of navigating their way through the obstacles of adolescence.
5. Writing is power.
“Writing is power. It is the power that students need to understand and control their lives, to shape their future and define their dreams” (Peha, 2003).
Teach your students how to think with their writing. Don’t worry so much about grammar rules; just let the students have the permission to communicate and learn through their written work.
Literacy Specialist for the district. Lynn has taught and supported students and teachers from kindergarten to 12th grade
Throughout this school year we will be moving from the intense consideration of vocabulary instruction to contemplating many types of instructional strategies and discussions. I hope you can join the thinking!