Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels,
each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels,
and each student demonstrates learning at high levels (Blackburn, 2008).

Friday, August 31, 2012

More on School Leadership Strategies for Increasing Rigor

Did you have a chance to listen to the podcast (blog entry below).  It's a short, ten minute interview with me talking about school leadership.  Today's bonus:  the accompanying white paper that goes further into those strategies and more!  Download it here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

School Leadership Strategies for Classroom Rigor

The new podcast is out!  Click here to listen to a ten minute conversation about school leadership and strategies leaders can use to impact classroom rigor.  It's a must hear!

Ready for school?

Are you ready for school?  My son started high school Monday; my nephew started middle school, and my nieces started fourth grade and kindergarten!  Life is full of changes, and starting school is one of them.  For me it's always a chance for a fresh start.  Enjoy the challenge....and the opportunity!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Setting Your Vision

At the start of a new school year, what is your vision for you and your students? Would you like your students to become independent learners? Would you like your students to learn at higher levels? Do you want to provide rigorous instruction and still have fun? The first step to a rigorous classroom is setting your vision. Try this activity:

Project that it is the last day of school and write a letter to a colleague or friend. Describe the school year that just happened (remember, you are imagining that the upcoming year has already happened). It was the best year ever....it far exceeded your expectations. What did you do? What happened with your students? How did they learn and grow and change? How did you?

Create your vision..and then strive to live it! Have a great year!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Which students are capable?

Do you believe this?  Do we as an educational system?  Far too often, I hear comments like:
"Rigor is only for our honors students." "That student isn't capable of rigorous work." or "My class can't even do what we're doing now and you want me to increase it?"

I believe all students are capable of increased levels of rigor.  After all, rigor is simply about raising the level of learning to a new level.  Each student can move to a new level, it just may take some students longer, and some students are moving to different levels of rigor.  As we start a new school year, will you believe that each student is capable of more?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Teacher's Journey

What is your journey?  Where will you go this year?  Of course you have a map that you must follow, but when will you find those unexpected teachable moments that totally surprise you and the students? When will you take a detour to make sure that every student understands the lesson before you move on?  When will you take time at a rest stop to reflect on what is working....and what isn't?  Where will your journey end?  How many of your students will still be on the journey with you? How many will have become lost along the way?  Most importantly, was the journey worth it?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Starting a New Year

Are you receiving my e-newsletter?  This month's is on Starting the New Year!  September's issue will be on Increasing Student Participation.  Every issue has quick tips, a Principal's Corner, and Recommended Resources. Sign up now using the link on the right.  I'll be resending the August issue early next week. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What is learning?

What is learning?  I've read the dictionary definition, but I'd like to propose something broader:

Learning is following one piece of information to multiple other sources to find out more.  Learning is when two people start talking about a topic and their enthusiasm leads to more knowledge for both.  Learning is when three or more pieces of information or texts are synthesized in a way that students pull new applications from the materials.  Learning is when a four-year old has the look of excitement on his or her face when he/she learns something new.  Learning is when five days a week, students leave your class excited to come back the next day.

What would you add to my list?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Thanks to @KellyHines for sharing this on Twitter.  It is such a true statement about rigor.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Big Dreams Start Small

As a new year starts, I remember how excited and nervous I was every year.  I was excited and filled with hope for new possibilities for learning for my students.  But I was also nervous.  What if they didn't learn? What if I wasn't good enough? What if.......?

As you start a new year, remember that you can and will make a difference for your students.  As Walt Disney said, "I only hope that we never lost sight of one thing--that it all began with a mouse."
I only hope you never lose sight of one thing--this year you WILL make a difference for your students. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Beginnings

As some of you are starting (or thinking of) starting the school year, I'd like to remind you of something:

Beginnings cost you nothing.  Beginnings are full of potential.  Beginnings happen every year.  How will you begin the year?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Common Core--Math Guidelines

The publishers' guidelines for the math standards are now out.  They are the first item in the list.  If you haven't downloaded the ones for ELA, scroll down.  I've found these are helpful tools in addition to the standards and appendices. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer Reflections

Have you taken time this summer for reflection?  To think about last year and how you were successful?  To make some plans for this year based on that?  If not, take a bit of time before the rush of another school year starts to think about it and then develop one or two goals for the coming year.