Typhani Harris | January 2016

STEAM-ER Series: Recap

Recapping the STEAMER Series:

We started this STEAMER series with one simple question: What is rigor? By looking at the definition rigor is (A) Harsh inflexibility in opinion, temper, or judgment. (B) The quality of being unyielding or inflexible. (C) An act or instance of strictness, severity, or cruelty. But, what is the educational connotation?  Over the last few weeks, we explored rigor in each of the STEAM content areas. We looked at the five areas of engagement: higher level thinking, engagement, deep inquiry, demonstration, and quality over quantity.  If you missed any of the STEAMER series you are in luck, below is a full recap of the STEAMER series with links to the original articles.

Higher Level Thinking

There are many resources for higher level thinking. Bloom’s Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge are two very common references for building higher level thinking into lessons. Check out the full article on bringing higher level thinking into the classroom through Bloom’s Taxonomy and Depth of Knowledge here.


The Glossary of Education Reform defines engagement as: “the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education.” The words that stand out most to me are curiosity and interest. If we foster curiosity and interest then attention, optimism, and passion will follow. STEAM content areas inherently encourage engagement and check out a compilation of resources for that build Rigor through Engagement in the STEAM classrooms here.

Deep Inquiry

Merriam-Webster defines inquiry as: a request for information, an official effort to collect and examine information about something, the act of asking questions in order to gather or collect information. Translating this into the classroom may seem easy, but there is more to inquiry they simply getting students to ask questions. Teachinginquiry.com and thirteen.org both offer comprehensive overviews of bringing the inquiry process into the classroom, click here for the full Deep Inquiry article.


Actions speak louder than words in all areas of life, and education is no different. Being able to recall and regurgitate rote information was helpful in the pre-google era, but now we need our students to show us they understand not just tell us.  Click here for the full article.

Quality over Quantity

Rigor does not mean more it means better. Students don’t need more work they need better work. Furthermore, they need exciting work that makes them want to work.  Click here for the full article.

Enjoy bringing Engagement through Rigor into your classroom!

Piquès & Pirouettès

About the Author

Dr. Typhani Harris, author of Putting the Performance in Performance Task and Stop Teaching, brings over 2 decades of educational experience to The Institute. Originally a high school English Language Arts teacher, Dr. Harris transitioned into a dance educator who cultivated an award-winning collegiate style dance education program at a public school in California. Prior to joining the Institute, she was an educational leader and instructional coach specializing in preparing new teachers in secondary urban schools.  As the Executive Director of Academic Affairs, Dr. Harris maintains courses, conferences, and the accredited certification program at The Institute.