Teaching with Higher Order Thinking and Rigor in Mind

The Learning-Focused Instructional Framework: Stage 2

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The Learning-Focused Instructional Framework provides the structure, skills, knowledge and resources for the most effective teaching and for accelerating all of your students’ learning. With the framework, you will plan and teach lessons you believe in!

The Learning-Focused Instructional Framework is learned in three professional development stages. The second stage, Teaching with Higher Order Thinking and Rigor in Mind, provides the resources and tools for planning purposeful, rigorous lessons that advance students through the four Levels of Learning in every lesson. Using the foundation learned in the first stage, The High Performance Learning-Focused Lesson, teachers shift their planning focus on higher level instruction, questions, learning activities, grade-level assignments, and assessments.

Teaching with Higher Order Thinking and Rigor in Mind….

  • exceeds the expectations of today’s standards by making Higher Order Thinking a main emphasis of every lesson
  • provides a blueprint for moving students through the 4 Levels of Learning
  • defines specific practices for developing rigorous, high quality assignments
  • ensures consistently high expectations for every student
  • provides a direct connection between research and application
  • is the best pathway for planning and teaching rigorous lessons for all students

Learn more about the The High Performance Learning-Focused Lesson (stage 1) and Accelerating Learning for All Students (stage 3)

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After learning how to plan and teach Learning-Focused Lessons, it is critical for student achievement to increase the rigor of lessons by consistently challenging students with rigorous lessons driven by the high expectations of grade level standards. Exemplary schools provide their teachers with professional development, support, and an instructional framework to meet the demands of the new generation of standards and today’s educational expectations. Teaching with Higher Order Thinking and Rigor in Mind provides all schools with a framework, strategies and resources for integrating Higher Order Thinking in all lessons effectively and building achievement to become an exemplary school.


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How does Teaching with Higher Order Thinking and Rigor in Mind prepare all students to be successful?

boy thinkingThe new generation of standards expect students to think at higher levels. Typical schools give students assignments either below grade level or give students higher level assignments but do not prepare them to successfully meet the expectations of the assignments. Teaching with Higher Order Thinking and Rigor in Mind is the key to successfully moving students through the initial level of learning (recall information) to a higher level of learning (analyze and apply information) in every lesson so they can all succeed with higher level assignments.

The demands of the new generation of standards and today’s education expectations require teachers to do more than provide students with basic knowledge and skills. Now, they must deepen student understanding of what they learn, which requires teachers to know how to plan and provide lessons where students learn and use higher order thinking strategies. To be college and career ready in the 21st century, students must be able to apply higher order thinking strategies to gain new insights. It is imperative that students are taught to independently use higher order thinking strategies. Providing students the knowledge and tools to retain and use these strategies is crucial for success beyond school.


Teaching with Higher Order Thinking and Rigor in Mind Professional Development 


Learn More about Teaching with Higher Order Thinking and Rigor in Mind 

Once teachers are planning and teaching Learning-Focused Lessons effectively, in Teaching with Higher Order Thinking and Rigor in Mind professional development they will gain the skills and knowledge to increase the complexity of learning as lessons progress, integrate higher order thinking strategies into their lessons to increase rigor and deepen student learning, and challenge students to critically analyze and interpret what they learn to develop new insights.

Workshop Essential Question: How do you provide rigorous instruction and deepen student learning with higher order thinking?

Participants will Learn the… Participants will Understand… Participants will Apply what they Learn to…
  • The characteristics of Higher Order Thinking questions and assignments.
  • The Four Levels of Learning and how they expand on Bloom’s and Webb’s taxonomies to increase depth of knowledge and rigor.
  • The importance of emphasizing Higher Order Thinking in lessons and instruction.
  • Higher Order Thinking strategies and processes and the vocabulary and steps associated with each.
  • Specific strategies, such as Graphic Organizers, think- alouds, and demonstration, enable students to identify and use Higher Order Thinking strategies.
  • Assignments and assessments have an expectation of rigor that must be met at each grade level.
  • Characteristics of challenging assignments.
  • The importance of including multiple opportunities throughout a lesson for students to analyze content with Higher Order Thinking strategies and processes.
Rigorous lessons engage students in skillfully applying Higher Order Thinking to deepen understanding of content.
  • Distinguishing higher order thinking from recall and representation of information.
  • Justifying the importance of Higher Order Thinking.
  • Determining student knowledge and ability to use each Higher Order Thinking strategy and process (pre-assess).
  • Planning lessons to teach students how to use specific Higher Order Thinking strategies and processes.
  • Developing Higher Order Thinking Learning Goals to deepen student understanding of specific content.
  • Planning meaningful and challenging standards-driven lesson assignments that integrate content, grade level writing expectations and Higher Order Thinking.
  • Planning a progression of Learning Activities that move students through the Levels of Learning in preparation for completing challenging lesson assignments.
Essential Question: Why are Higher Order Thinking strategies and processes so important for learning?
  • Participants will identify the characteristics of Higher Order Thinking and develop a rationale for incorporating Higher Order Thinking into lessons and assignments.
Essential Question: How do you teach students to use Higher Order Thinking Strategies and processes independently?
  • Participants will plan or adapt lessons to explicitly teach Higher Order Thinking strategies and processes.
Essential Question: How do you effectively incorporate Higher Order Thinking in your lessons to increase the rigor?
  • Participants will plan Learning-Focused Lessons that require students to apply Higher Order Thinking Strategies and processes to deepen understanding of academic content.
Essential Question: How do you plan a rigorous Assignment?
  • Participants will analyze grade-level expectations of standards to determine Learning Goals and develop a rigorous Assignment aligned to those Learning Goals.
Essential Question: How do you plan Learning Activities and Assessment Prompts that prepare students to successfully complete rigorous, high quality Assignments?
  • Participants will plan a learning progression that moves students through the Levels of Learning in preparation for completing the rigorous assignment.
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Teaching with Higher Order Thinking and Rigor in Mind provides teachers with the structure, understanding and skills to incorporate higher order thinking into their Learning-Focused Lessons, the tools for helping students successfully complete grade level assignments that incorporate higher order thinking, and the skills and knowledge to plan questions and tasks that elicit higher order thinking from students.


Teaching with Higher Order Thinking and Rigor in Mind

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