Rigorous Prompts

The following is a reflection activity from the book:  “Assignments Matter”  by Eleanor Dougherty, p. 32.
Have you ever gone back to closely reflect and review on the types of assignment prompts you are asking of your students?  

“Consider each of the following prompts by analyzing the 1) content and skills involved in each and 2) demands and qualities.  What makes one prompt more demanding than the other?  What qualities would you expect to see in the student work for the more demanding tasks?

Elementary School:

  • Less Demanding:   Create a diorama for Mother’s Day about something you and your mom like to do.
  • More Demanding:  Interview your mother about an event in her life that was important to her and write it up for her to keep on mother’s day.

Middle School Example:

  • Less demanding:  Draw a book cover for To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • More demanding:  Write an essay in which you discuss the relationship between Scout and her father. How does this relationship help tell the story?

High School Example:

  • Less demanding:  Draw a picture of an electron
  • More demanding:  Why is it difficult, unless you are a trained ninja, to break through a table with yoru hand?  Expalin and provide illustrations or graphs, using what you’ve learned int he unit on electrons.” 

Discussion Question:  

In looking at these above examples, what makes the prompts more demanding than the others?  In applying this to your own practice, choose a couple of prompts on current assignments and reflect on the level of demand and quality of work you are requiring of your students.

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