This section of the Notice and Note Book Study is being hosted by
Question 3: Where Does Rigor Fit? I recently heard some ideas about the word "rigor" that really resonated with me. I am pretty sure they came from a presentation from George Couros at the Utah Educational Technology Conference I attended a few months ago. He pointed out that the word rigor seems like such an unlikely word to use for what we mean when using it recently in education. The etymology of the word is from Latin meaning to be stiff. It is most often used to describe the state of a living thing after death and the body stiffens. It also has the meaning to be harsh, strict or extreme. In what way do we desire these attributes for our readers? We desire to increase the difficulty level with which our students are able to work with a text in order to deepen their understanding. Perhaps we could find a different word to describe this act? I simply use the term "Deeper Reading" with my students to encompass the ideas of close reading and offering rigorous and meaningful lessons.
The authors of Notice and Note also pointed out a similar notion in the section of this chapter titled "It's Rigor, Not Rigor Mortis" I appreciate these sections of text from the chapter that really resonated with me:
"Rigor is not an attribute of a text but rather a characteristic of our behavior with that text. ...rigor resides in the enerty and attention given to the text, not in the text itself." (pg. 20)
"The essential element in rigor is engagement. The rigor has to be achieved by engaging the readers in a process that is sufficiently interesting or rewarding that they'll invest energy in the work." (pg. 22)
A question that has come to mind in this notion of rigor being about the interaction, is how does text leveling play a role in this? Of course students must be able to access the text in order to dig deeper, but what about a text that might usually be considered too easy for a student? I feel that sometimes students are able to easily read a text and understand surface comprehension, but miss all of the deeper, underlying meanings that can be gained from the text. I am thinking that for digging deeper, it may be a fantastic idea to bring forward "easier" texts and increase the expectation for engagement and commitment to the text. Then, slowly increasing the difficulty of the text while continuing the expectation of engagement and commitment.
Question 4: What do We Mean by Intellectual Communities?
This idea of having an intellectual community is one that I have desired, but not quite learned how to foster. This last year, more than any before, I realized how willing my students are to do the bare minimum. They weren't engaged in learning and didn't have that intrinsic desire to work hard and do more. A small handful out of the 33 students in my class ever went above and beyond the minimum and many did just enough to brush the minimum and yet now quite reach it. I would love to hear your ideas on how you achieve an Intellectual Community in your classroom or school!