Brad Cawn

Brad Cawn specializes in helping schools and teachers integrate the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and literacy across content areas through rigorous inquiry-based instruction centered on the investigation of disciplinary texts.
View full profile

What We Talk About When We Talk About Ambitious Instruction, Part II: What about Ambitious Learning?

Categories: Authors, Instruction

Ambitious Instruction, my new book, has a relatively straightforward (phew) definition of rigor: there is academic rigor, which is simply the completion of a task or work at a quality level commensurate with the expectations articulated in the standard(s) said task addresses or is aligned to; and instructional rigor, the curricular and pedagogical practices that position and enable students to realize the cognitive demands of those learning targets. Read more

Ambitious Instruction

What We Talk About When We Talk About ‘Ambitious Instruction’, Part I

Categories: Authors, Instruction

Ambitious Instruction,” the title of my newest book, is not a buzzword. The education world does not need another buzzword; we have plenty as is.

I’ll confess, though, that “ambitious instruction” certainly sounds like a buzzword. I’ll also confess that the term was derived in the jargony annals of academia; it also has the sort of vagary and specificity that sounds like yet another (gulp) buzzword. (You have my complete forgiveness if you’re raising an eyebrow right now.) Read more

Mapping out rigorous literacy instruction

Reexamining Rigor in Literacy

Categories: Instruction, Literacy

Sometimes it’s called the “treasure box”; other times, it’s known as “that resource.” Once I heard it referred to as “the answer”—not an answer, mind you, but the answer. It’s that magical list of complex texts that are just right for your students; they’re the readily available, rigorous tasks sure to engage them deeply. Answers. Easy ones. Good ones.

Forgive then, my terrible, terrible news: that treasure doesn’t exist. Read more