Sunday, December 9, 2012

Rigorous and hard are not synonymous...

There is a significant difference between something 
being hard and something being rigorous...

For example, assume a student has been learning about the 50 states in the United States of America. The last two weeks of class have been focused on learning not just the 50 states, but also learning the history of America and the significant events that have occurred leading up to the current 50 state structure.

Assessment 1: Collaboratively design and create a presentation focusing on one of the major events in America's history that have affected and/or played a significant role in our current 50 state structure. Be prepared to present this to your classmates and be able to justify/explain why this particular event was so significant in America's history

Assessment 2: Using a blank map of the United States, write down and correctly spell all 50 states.

Assessment 1 is rigorous because it is complex and has depth. There are several steps to this assessment, and most importantly, the assessment is not specific to just the content, but also to skills that are transferable to other content areas and beyond. This assessment requires students to work collaboratively while providing them flexibility and creativity to present in a manner they so choose. This assessment can have multiple correct answers.

Assessment 2 is hard because it is asking each student to have memorized the location of each state, as well as have memorized how to spell each state correctly. This assessment is also hard because it disconnects much of the information presented over the last two weeks in regard to the history of the 50 states. Students will think the important focus is on just knowing the 50 states and how to spell them, rather than the history and background behind our current 50 state structure. This assessment can only have one correct answer.


Watch this 4 minute video discussing a rigor matrix comparing DOK levels and Bloom's Taxonomy.

Check out Karin Hess' Rigor Matrix mentioned in the video here: Rigor Matrix

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's all about the technology, but not like you think...

I just read a finance article that got me thinking… and no, this blog post does not serve as financial advice and/or a political statement!

We frequently talk about how technology can enhance and broaden learning opportunities for our students. What we don’t often talk much about are the negative effects of technology as it relates to jobs and the resulting implications for our schools.

Below are three quotations I pulled from the article:

“The waning benefits of globalization and the detrimental effects of technology.”

“The explosion of new technology in recent years has also helped power the global economy, but that new technology has its shady side."

"In the past decade, machines and robotics have rather silently replaced humans, and a recent MIT study affirms that workers are losing the race against the machine."

You can read the entire article here: New Normal is here to Stay

Furthermore, as someone smarter than I so eloquently put it:

“The value of individual pieces of content is dropping drastically as society is propelled toward a world of increasing uncertainty while schools try to provide our kids with the skills for jobs that don’t yet exist.”

This got me thinking about what our students need to be successful in a global economy. In the same breath, we know full well that our society is changing so rapidly that there is more uncertainty than there is known.

I don’t really know where I was going with this, but I think it really demonstrates the awesome responsibility we have as educators to prepare our kids for whatever the future holds…

~ Happy thinking! 

Depth of Knowledge & Student Engagement

Karin Hess on Depth of Knowledge (3 minute video)
*Click on Karin's name for the Cognitive Rigor Matrix

"Whether you realize it or not, all your students are engaged all the time. The important question is, what are they engaged in?"

How can we continue making this shift in our classrooms? Shifting away from a teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered classroom. It's not about doing less work, it's about making education more purposeful, more relevant, and more engaging for our students.

It's all about the approach for our students... how can you help guide and direct them to the right approach?

These might not show up on a standardized test, but nevertheless they are extremely important. How do we and how are we teaching this...?

Because of the time of the year, you probably need a little encouragement to smile, laugh, or cry... or perhaps all three at the same time; watch this 4 minute video to kick start your week!