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).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Feeling Overwhelmed?

One of my favorite authors and friends is Frank Buck. He specializes in getting organized, time management, etc. His blog is filled with wonderful suggestions for principals, teachers, and anyone else who works in or with schools. http://frankbuck.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving and a rest from the daily stress of school life. No matter how much you love your job (or not), we all need a few days away. I would encourage you to take time to do one thing totally for yourself in the next few days. Go to a movie, write in your journal, take a walk...whatever you enjoy. Afterward, when you feel like you have had a chance to breathe, write down three reasons you CHOOSE to do what you do. Because it's always a choice...maybe you want to make a difference for a student, maybe you like the "a-ha" moment that comes (not nearly as often as we'd like), or maybe you like knowing that you learn as much as your students. Thank you for choosing to be a teacher or a leader. You make a difference for students everyday...even when it doesn't feel like it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Have you ever felt like you were juggling too many things at one time? It has been that way for me lately. I kept thinking that things would calm down by now, but... A friend of mine laughed at me, saying "things never calm down; you just get better at dealing with them." I hope that's true. For me, the last year has been full of changes. In 2009 I took a new job at a different university. It's amazing how the same job is different at a new place. When I married in December, I was balancing a new job, commuting two hours each way, a new husband and stepson, finishing a book, and selling my house. TOO MUCH! My first decision to add balance was to quit my university job at the end of the year. So, in June, I became a full time writer/speaker, wife and mom. There's still a lot to balance. Just finishing the new book--Rigor in Your School--A Toolkit for Leaders, and I'm taking some time off the road. Right now, my biggest tip for balance is to make a list this morning--not a full to
do list but a two column list: Definite Things to Accomplish Things I'd Like to Get Done (But I won't beat myself up if I don't).
Usually, that was all on one list, but this way I feel more accomplishment!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Are you doing a book study on Rigor is NOT a Four-Letter Word?

Check out this blog (thanks to Brenda Martin and her teachers for sharing).  I'm always humbled and amazed at how teachers take the material and make it their own!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Perceptions of Rigor

What do you think when you hear or read the word rigor? Does it carry a positive or negative connotation? When discussing rigor and its importance in the classroom, teachers and students often find themselves face-to-face with a seemingly impenetrable wall created by how their perceptions. So, rather than trying to penetrate the wall, let’s walk around it, or get a harness and some rope and climb it! Rigor, like this wall, presents a challenge, but not to the extent that students feel they must overcome insurmountable obstacles. Rather, it offers a challenge that, combined with strategic thinking and action, paves the way for success.

When teachers combine challenge with instruction and encouragement to guide students toward success, students are more likely to view rigor as something that positively impacts their learning and their abilities to seek information. Too often, students resist challenges because they fear failure. So, we must rearrange our own perceptions of rigor. Instead of trying to “stump” students, we should invite them to take risks as learners, to think critically, to express themselves, and to experience the personal satisfaction and joy that accompanies genuine accomplishment.

What do you think? How do you help students take risks in your classroom?

What does a teacher do?

From my great friend, research assistant, and former student Missy Miles:
A teacher will be some place in the world tonight preparing lessons to teach your children while you are watching tv. In the minute it takes you to read this, teachers all over the world are on their own time for your children's literacy, prosperity and future. If you can read this, then thank a teacher.

I love it!