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).

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Using Technology to Increase #Rigor in the Classroom

I'm often asked about using technology to increase rigor in the classroom.  Can it be used?  Does it matter which program I use?  The answer to both questions is yes, as long as you remember technology is a tool, not an end result.  In a recent article at TeachThought, I've answered these questions in more detail.

Instructional rigor is a concept we can agree is important, despite the debate about the use of the word itself. 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).” But how does technology relate to rigor? As with any instructional tool, educational technology is critical to increasing rigor in the classroom.  There are five ways technology can be used to increase rigor.

For the rest of the article, click here!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Opportunity to Hear My Presentation on Rigor

I have a fabulous opportunity for you if you are in the Phoenix area. The Maricopa County Education Service Agency is sponsoring one of my full day sessions on Monday, July 13 (see information below) and they have some open seats. They have graciously allowed me to open it up to anyone who would like to attend.    As a bonus, you get a copy of my newest book, Rigor in Your Classroom.  Click below to register and I hope to see you there!

July 13

Rigor is NOT a Four-Letter Word

Presented by Dr. Barbara Blackburn
This full-day session is designed for high school leaders. Leaders will:
  • Understand the interrelationship between student motivation and instructional rigor.
  • Understand and apply the key components of instructional rigor.
  • Understand and apply practical classroom applications and examples of observational elements of rigor.
  • Develop an action plan and next steps.
Participants will receive a free copy of “Rigor in Your Classroom A Tookit for Teachers”
Breakfast & lunch included!

Register Here

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer is Almost Here!!

It's that time of the year again.  The year is winding down, and students will soon be gone unless you teach in a year-round school.  For me, it's my busy season.  I'll be traveling the whole summer, working with schools and districts on their professional development.  I'll post periodically, but not regularly until the year starts back.  Have a restful and reflective summer. Please remember to check in on my new radio show, WRGR:  Rigor Made Easy throughout the summer.  It will include topics such as:

Rigor for Students with Special Needs
Rigor in the Kindergarten Classroom
A Superintendent's Perspective of Rigor
Rigor in the Spanish and ELL Classroom
Facilitating Rigor in the Classroom
Rigor in the Science and Math Classroom
Rigor from a School Counselor's Perspective
....and more!!!!

 You can listen online or subscribe through ITunes.  Enjoy! Barbara



Monday, June 1, 2015

Summer Professional Development!

For many educators, summer is the perfect time to focus on professional learning.  Taking ownership of your professional learning through meaningful learning opportunities is exactly what the team at BAM Radio Network has available for you through their new summer learning series.   BAM Radio is the largest education radio network in the world offering programming from the nation’s top education organizations and thought leaders and reaching a wide audience of people passionately committed to quality education.

In addition to my show, Rigor Made Easy, which is about getting to the core of what rigor is and what it isn’t and how it can be implemented in the classroom, they have a group of new programs the span the educational spectrum.  As of now, these shows include:
  • HookED, with educators Matt Miller and Jed Dearybury, who connect with educators who are truly engaging their students and getting them
  • Teachers of the Year Radio is hosted by teachers of the year themselves. Gary Abud and Steve Perkins share ten minutes each week with some of the country’s best educators, learning about the latest and greatest in teaching, leading, and learning.
  • The Maker Movement is the focus of Movers and Makers, hosted by author/educator Laura Fleming and her co-host, educator Travis Lape.
  • Author and education consultant Rae Pica hosts Studentricity, offering strategies for teaching with students at the center.
  • Ed.Got Game! has been launched with new hosts teacher/author Matthew Farber and game-based learning teacher Michael Matera, who bring gaming to the classroom with intriguing guests.
  • EdChat New Zealand, connecting New Zealand educators with host connected educator Danielle Myburgh.
  • Gwen Pescatore and Lisa Davis, parent leaders, who shed light in learning from the parent’s side of education in ParentED.
  • Elissa Malespina and Shannon McClintock Miller are teacher-librarians who go Beyond Books, transforming teaching and learning.
You can also earn a badge through Laura Fleming's page for any of the shows.  I hope you'll take this opportunity to gain new knowledge through these shows.  Enjoy!  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What is #Rigor?

I'm very excited to announce that I am now hosting a radio show for BAM Radio Network on rigor.  There will be a new one every other week, and topics include Rigor for Students with Special Needs, Rigor in the Band Classroom, Rigor for Gifted Students, etc.  First up, What is rigor?  What is it NOT?  Join me as I interview Dr. Abbigail Armstrong from Winthrop University for an 8 minute talk on rigor.  And please provide feedback for me here in the comments.  Thank you!  Barbara


Monday, May 25, 2015

Keeping a List of Successes


Do you keep a list of successes?  Earlier I recommended that you reflect on success as part of your reflection for the year, but today I want to focus on this one point.  My first couple of years, I waited until the end of the year to to write them down.  The problem was, I forgot a lot of them, especially
the small successes.  It's important to remember all on them, including those that are tiny, but make a difference.  For example, I forgot to write down that Ronnie actually smiled when I helped him read the driver's manual.  And I didn't remember that Susanna fussed, but was then appreciative when I referred her to the counselor because of family issues.  Finally, I always forgot that look in a student's eye the first time they "got it".  I almost took them for granted. 

But we need to track all our successes, or we do forget them.  And then, we begin to think we don't make a difference.  I learned to keep a success journal, which allowed me to reflect on things I did, things my students did, and comments or quotes I liked to keep.  You can get my blank success journal here (scroll down).  

Tracking your successes helps you remember something very important:  You make a difference everyday--even when you don't feel like it, especially when you don't feel like it!