During our study of Robert Marzano's book, The Reflective Teacher, my book group has come to this same conclusion. I have been loving my sessions with these teachers. We are not only having awesome discussion, we are eating amazing food like this:
Jeanette brought it and we all devoured it. You can find this recipe plus many other great ones at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Check it out here:
In between bites we talked about that four letter R word.....
We talked about how a rigorous curriculum doesn't need to feel severe, strict or harsh. Although the dictionary definition leaves us with a negative feeling, a rigorous curriculum can be seen as a positive instructional move. Having a common vision of high expectations for all students is a good thing. Who wouldn't want that?
We talked about the need to start our planning with the end in mind. Do you do that? In other words we think it is important to clarify the standard plus the level of understanding that is expected of our students before we can even think about designing an effective lesson. We can no longer spend time on activities just because we think they are good; we need to consider whether or not they are relevant and will get our students to the goal that has been set. Have you changed your approach to lesson design with the onset of a more rigorous curriculum? I'd love to hear from you!
More now than ever in my teaching career, students are expected to think in complex ways, to analyze, create and evaluate. This can make an elementary classroom an exciting place for both students and teachers to work. I am so lucky to be teaching in a county that supports teacher initiative and growth. So I'm excited to start putting into practice some of the ideas our group has been discussing. My book group and I will be tackling the creative problem solving portion of our reflection and will be planning for implementation next. Our minds are full of ideas on how to use Marzano's instructional delivery model in our teaching. But for now I'm off to the beach for a few days.....
Will be back soon to share some of our lesson ideas next week.