Thursday, December 22, 2011

Learning More Deeply

"measuring up" by woodleywonderworks

In a recent posting, Buffy Hamilton took advantage of winter break to reflect on her professional practice:
"My colleague Kristin Fontichiaro inspired me earlier this year to hone in on helping teachers and students go beyond surface level knowledge and the 'shininess' of students merely producing something with a web 2.0 tool and to look at how digitally created content reflects rigor in terms of content and composition."
I would strongly recommend that you visit The Unquiet Librarian and read Midyear Reflections: Challenges of Supporting Student Digital Nonfiction Composition in its entirety. Buffy's self-assessment is tough but fair, displaying the type of rigor, that can be defined as "the quality of being extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate" rather than "severity or strictness; excessive sternness."

If our educational goal is to have students acquire knowledge, rather than merely complete tasks, we must provide the scaffolding, exemplary models, and formative assessments that Buffy is striving to infuse into her students' learning experiences.

"It might be easier to define rigor by noting what it is not: Rigor is not a synonym for ‘harder,’ and it does not mean moving first-grade curriculum into kindergarten, or algebra into the seventh grade. … Rigor means teaching and learning things more thoroughly – more deeply." -Nancy Flanagan

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