As we get closer to finishing another year strong and think to our summer R&R which inevitably includes our teachers thinking enthusiastically about next school year, I thought I would share an article that’s an “oldie but goodie”, The Seven R’s of a Quality Curriculum by Ron Ritchhart. More recently, Ritchharts work around Creating Cultures of Thinking, The 8 Cultural Forces that Define our Classroom, and Making Thinking Visible has supported us in implementing high-quality learning experiences in our classrooms. This article helps us quickly think deeply about what to be sure to include in our learning experience for our students. Here’s a quick summary of Ritcharts “Seven R’s“:
- Rigorous – Ritchhart suggests, “Rather than think of [rigor as] difficulty, I think in terms of affordances. A rigorous curriculum embodies and affords students opportunities to develop a deeper understanding and not just show what they already know.”
- Real – As it relates to the performance task, Ritchhart encourages us to “engage students in authentic [inter]disciplinary activities so that students’ classroom activities mirror the real work of adults in the field.”
- Requires Independence – Ritchhart references “Educational theorist Jerome Bruner [who] defines understanding as the ability to use and apply one’s skills in novel situations to solve problems, make decisions, and advance new understandings.”
- Rich in Thinking – “Students must make connections, observe closely, ask questions, form conjectures, identify points of view, consider alternatives, evaluate outcomes, make evidence-based judgments, and so on.” Ritchhart explains.
- Revealing – This is about formative assessment and Ritchhart contends that, “This is the holy grail of ongoing assessment, which is not a separate piece of the enacted curriculum but part and parcel of it.”
- Rewarding – In classrooms where deep learning is occurring, “There is a sense of purpose to the work [students] are doing…Students can articulate what they are learning and why…” suggests Ritchhart, “The written curriculum seldom addresses the issue of intrinsic rewards, but the enacted curriculum must if it is to engage students in building [deep] understanding.
- Reflective – In his final “R”, Richhart makes the case that “Reflection on one’s learning—not one’s feelings about an activity or experience but on the actual learning itself—helps to anchor understanding and facilitates connection making [for the learner].” This is the power of metacognition!
Want more? Check out the video below where Ron Ritchhart defines Cultures of Thinking and reflect on how Cultures of Thinking relate to the Seven R’s.