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).

Monday, August 31, 2015

Motivating Struggling Learners


One of the most exciting things that happened to me this summer was the publication of my newest book (number 15), Motivating Struggling Learners:  10 Ways to Build Student Success.  It includes topics such as intrinsic motivation, praise and positive feedback, growth mindset, high expectations, support and scaffolding, engagement, grit and resilience, and celebrating diverse learners.  Pre-orders were fabulous, and it was a big hit at the summer conferences.  Just for this month, use the discount code BBB15 and get a 20% discount.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Getting Organized for #Rigor

Do you want to increase rigor in your classroom or school?  Do you need to be organized to make that happen?  This month's e-newsletter is on that very topic, with guest author Dr. Frank Buck.  Just click on the button to the right to sign up; I'll be resending it several times over the next week.  It's about a five minute read, with lots of tips for teachers, and a Principal's Corner.  Check it out!



Monday, August 24, 2015

Two New Resources for #Teachers and a Bonus One for Principals


In July, Middleweb published an article I wrote, Do We Really Have High Expectations? which discusses how expectations are reflected in our actions.    


Do you have high expectations for your students? I’ve never met a teacher who said, “I have low expectations for my students.” The challenge is that we sometimes have hidden low expectations of certain students.  One year, early in my teaching career, several teachers “warned” me about Daniel, a new student in my room. During class, he certainly lived up to (really down to) the teachers’ comments. Despite my efforts, my expectations for him became lower, with the words “They warned me” echoing in the back of my mind.

In August, Teachers.Net followed up with an article on Building a Relationship with Your Students.


Building a relationship with your students is the most important action you can take to ensure a good year that will help your students learn. There are three specific ways to build a relationship with your students.
1. Be Open About Yourself
2. Learn About Your Students
3. Create a Safe Climate 

Finally, in August, Middleweb published an article I co-wrote with Dr. Ron Williamson:  Creating a Vision for the School Year.  It's filled with suggestions for principals, so be sure to share! 

I hope you enjoy all of them and be sure to share the Vision article with your principal!!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Kicking off the School Year!

Are you excited to start the school year?  I'd like you to take a few moments and think about that excitement.  It's important to continue that excitement throughout the year.  I'd encourage you to take a few minutes and write your vision.  Take an index card, and list the ten reasons you are excited to be a teacher.  Why do you know you are going to make a difference this year?  What are you most looking forward to?  During the year, when your enthusiasm wanes, take a look at your index card and revisit your vision.  I know you are going to make a difference this year.  Take time to write why you believe that's true!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Summer Professional Development for #Teachers

I hope your summer has been going well.  For me, I've been quite busy presenting professional development sessions in Texas, Tennessee, Phoenix, Little Rock, Santa Fe, and South Carolina.  It's been wonderful connecting with teachers and principals across the nation.

If you are looking for some quick resources for your own professional development to kick off the school year, I'd make two suggestions.  First, check out my website, www.barbarablackburnonline.com.  There are over 100 resources, including articles, book downloads, and podcasts.  Each is free, and you have copyright permission to use them in your classroom or school.  The best point?  You don't have to register!!!

Second, in May, BAM! Radio Network launched my new show, WRGR:  Rigor Made Easy.   The 8-10 minute radio shows focus on a variety of subjects on rigor, such as Rigor for Students with Special Needs, Rigor for Students in a High Poverty School, Rigor Using Complex Text, and Rigor from a Superintendent's Perspective.  Upcoming shows include Rigor in the Kindergarten Classroom, Rigor in the Band Classroom, Rigor in Math, and Rigor for School Counselors.  You can stream it, or subscribe via ITunes.  I hope you'll consider listening.

Enjoy your last remaining days before you start back to school.  And please check out my resources.


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