Sunday, 5 February 2017

Stories of Worldview Case Study: Intercultural Contact Between the Spanish and Aztec Empires of the 16th Century


UP NEXT: Reflection and Litspiration 2: The Scorpion Project

Step 2: Proposal
At the beginning of this week, all groups had to put together a proposal for me to approve. They needed to include some very specific details:
Some found this process quick and easy, while others were asked to re-think some details. It is always amazing how willing students are to think more deeply when given some advice, and the chance to do so.

Step along the way: Assessment
I liked this image as a visual metaphor for assessment; essentially, the components are the same for each student and each project, but the small details can, and should, vary. When searching for an image, I first Googled "messy" then "complicated" and finally found this when I searched "multi-faceted."

Interspersed amongst the steps is assessment. By creating multiple opportunities for students and teachers to assess the work, assessment becomes a conversation, and moves away from something that is done TO students, and towards an activity that allows the assessment itself to be part of the learning. ("eduspeak" catchphrase: assessment for, of, by, as learning...)  This can take many forms, some of which might include:

  • Intra-group check-ins - Groups work together to accumulate and record evidence of how they are meeting expectations for specific assessment categories; students used their own copies of the assessment tool to do this.
  • Group - Teacher check-ins - Feedback loops are built into the work as students are required to have conversations with the teacher at various points along the way (e.g., the proposal approval process). I like to record specific notes from these check-ins in a Google doc for future reference.
  • Collaboration check-ins - Each student individually completes a quick overview of their understanding of how the collaborative process is going up to that point in the project using a pie chart and/or percentages. After many years of learning HOW to collaborate, and reinforcement of those skills in grade 8, students can be very astute in understanding the nuances of effective, or ineffective, collaboration.
  • Peer feedback - Students are asked to view other projects, often with a specific task to complete. The focus in my class is to ensure students are providing feedback, not judging/ranking/summatively assessing. As with my check-ins, the goal is to provide action-oriented advice, a skill we continue to work on.

Step 3: Create
Once a group's proposal was approved, they were in the homestretch...really! The creation of the actual artifact of learning is like icing on the cake in some ways - the ingredients were purchased, the cake was mixed, baked, and cooled, and now for the finishing touches. In other words, a lot of the work was already completed in terms of inquiry and knowledge/skill development. Often, in our assessment scheme, communication is a very important aspect that is demonstrated through the final artifact as students carry out their planned intentional choices to engage their audience in their thinking and convey their knowledge.

Projects are due in full by this Wednesday, with an opportunity for peer feedback tomorrow, and revisions on Tuesday. All students will then get a chance to view each others' work in a "gallery walk" event Wednesday afternoon.