The Book Fort
Instructional Ideas for Immediate Implementation
Welcome to The Book Fort! Vol. 1 Issue 13
Missed previous issues? Find them below:
Week Thirteen: The Case for Rigor
Anyone who has attended one of my workshops know I hate the term rigor. I mean, come on, it immediately evokes visions of cold, dead bodies. It became an educational buzz word right around the time I became a teacher in a school that was experiencing a change in leadership under turnaround efforts and I could not avoid it. Instead, I chose to embrace it, but I did find it useful to define rigor in better, more specific terms: challenge and complexity. I learned to focus my lesson planning on levels of challenge and complexity; funny enough, I never had to worry about being observed after that.
Barbara Blackburn does a fantastic job of defining rigor in very concrete terms in Rigor Is Not a Four-Letter Word (2008). She offers strategies to teachers for providing “challenging learning experiences in their classrooms to prepare students for a better future”, whatever that future might be. I was hooked immediately upon reading the introduction because Blackburn cites some sobering statistics on dropouts related to rigor, such as lack of interest, challenge, and engagement in their learning experiences. That is something we can fix, folks, and in a political climate where it seems that we have little power to be changemakers, we owe it to students to fix what we can. I hope you find these strategies useful.
Blackburn, B. (2008). Rigor is not a four-letter word. San Antonio, TX. Print.
Reading Strategy: Good Questioning Techniques
Writing Strategy: RAFT
Vocabulary Strategy: Critical Concepts
Classroom Tool of the Week
What Kids are Reading
A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long
The creators of the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet and A Seed Is Sleepy have teamed up again to create this gorgeous and informative introduction to the world of butterflies. From iridescent blue swallowtails and brilliant orange monarchs to the worlds tiniest butterfly (Western Pygmy Blue) and the largest (Queen Alexandra's Birdwing), an incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder.
Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes
A fresh design and appealing new cover enliven this award-winning collection in the acclaimed Poetry for Young People series. Showcasing the extraordinary Langston Hughes, it's edited by two leading poetry experts and features gallery-quality art by Benny Andrews that adds rich dimension to the words. Hughes's magnificent, powerful words still resonate today, and the anthologized poems in this splendid volume include his best-loved works
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers―some willingly, some unwittingly―have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.