This was a super quick reading, ‘Rise to the Challenge’ by Jeff C. Marshall is just over 100 pages (but really fewer as the chapter end and starts take 3 pages each). At first, as I began reading this book I worried that I wasn’t going to get anything out of it. The early pages feel like a soapbox, but pretty quickly it turns into a book of ideas and passion to move education.
Obviously, in a short format book, there isn’t great depth, but there is still a powerhouse of good ideas and thoughtful suggestions.
Each subsection in the chapters is followed by a few deep-dive thinking questions. I struggled to answer some more due to the situation and timing than the importance of the questions. The questions are meant to have the reading teacher really think about their practice and how they could make a small change reflecting each of the ideas presented.
Also, since it is a short read, I agree with the author… don’t skip over content ideas from other subjects. I actually found myself thinking about how I could work other ideas into my classroom space. For example, the old Sesame Street ‘Which one of these is not like the other?’. I don’t teach English or math, which are used for the examples. But I certainly started thinking about quotes, images, and experiments I could use in science that would mimic this idea.
If anything, I would suggest reading this book when teachers are able to truly think about their daily/weekly teaching (during our COVID online learning this is not a reality for me). But I also would consider reading it now to start thinking about small changes for the upcoming year.
More than anything, the title is not only meant for teachers to help their students learn in a more challenging environment, but it is meant as a statement to the teachers themselves.
So, Rise to the Challenge. Revisit and reinvent your classroom to truly add rigor, challenge, engagement for all students in the learning opportunities you create.