Stacy's Notes

April 2016 Version

"If the aim of education is not only to have our children do well in school, but also to do well in the lives they lead outside of school, then we must transform the system. " Raymond J. McNulty from It's Not us Against Them: Creating the Schools We Need" p. 50.

A 3 minute video performance by Malcolm London

A Changing Mission

While students in Chicago might face more violence than our students, Malcolm London's overall message relates to our students' lives. The original goal of school was to sort students for the 20th Century workforce, and schools were successful in meeting that goal. The new challenge we have been given, is to ensure all of our students are leaders.


To rise to this challenge, we can not do business like 20th Century teachers where classrooms are designed to be teacher centered, with the teachers doing most of the work, motivated students participating a bit and the rest of the student body along for the ride. If we want to students to engage in rigorous thinking we have to provide them with engaging opportunities to practice thinking in student centered classrooms. Transitioning to a student centered classroom does not mean we throw out everything we have learned about good teaching. Teaching practices like classroom control and careful lesson design are even more important in a student centered classroom since teachers are facilitators of learning and not transmitters of learning.

Rigor & Relevance Continuum:Where do your lessons land?

The Rigor/Relevance Framework visually illustrates traditional learning as well as learning that can be applied to real world situations. A verb list by quadrant and a decision tree will help you evaluate your lessons.

What Rigor Looks Like in the Classroom: What Rigorous Instruction Requires Students to Do
What Rigor Looks Like in the Classroom: Rigor Should Be Messy

What are Quad D lessons? Does that only mean cross-curricular projects?

Cross-curricular projects are only one aspect of Quad D lessons. Students need the skills and knowledge to be able to successfully complete a Quad D activity. In a typical lesson students will visit Quad D through short quick rigorous activities. The rest of the lesson can occur in the other quadrants where students gain the skills and content necessary to successfully complete a Quad D activity. Once students become successful with Quad D moments then the time spent in Quad D can expand to include cross-curricular projects.

St. Lawrence Central High School