Special Areas

The purpose of this professional development, Power Curriculum, is to provide you with information that builds background knowledge and encourages deep thinking .  During these sessions we will seek to identify dynamic classroom practices that cultivate 21st century skills.  Participants will learn to utilize two very powerful tools : Hess Rigor Matrix and the Rigor and Relevance Framework to analyze lessons, assessments and curriculum. 

 Hess’s Rigor Matrix (Webb’s Depth of Knowledge + Bloom’s Taxonomy) and the Rigor/Relevance Framework are intended to both assess an activity, lesson, or assessment and use that feedback to make good planning decisions. The goal is not to spend all of every lesson at the most advanced levels of understanding, but rather to include a variety of approaches in many different orders. In addition, switching the order of the approaches can help students make new connections.

 For example, you may wish to start with an activity that involves self-knowledge, application, evaluation, or analysis before addressing basic knowledge. As you use these tools to analyze and enrich your lessons, ask yourself:

  • What DOK level or quadrant does this address?
  • Am I accessing many types of understanding (using a variety of assessments)?
  • Does the progression between types of understanding make sense?  (sequential - one building on the other)
  • Can I increase the rigor or application of these tasks/activities?
  • Could I switch the order of some types of understanding to make this more valuable or engaging?
  • Can I add more types of learning to the same activity?


Adapted from Kaplan Inc. 2007