Here is a link to a formative assessment that I am working on to help me teach the Bill of Rights in my History class. It was kind of a struggle putting it together because I was not sure if I was doing this correctly most of the time. It is definitely something new to be doing and a change from the way things are normally done. I did feel though that after a while things started to get easier and make more sense. I almost feel that it would be easier for me to work on the actual assessment before creating this version but I understand that the purpose is to start with the main goal and objective and work our way back. I just think I could have gone into more detail about the things I wanted to be testing on instead of staying vague but I feel at this point I need to be vague until I know exactly what I want to be doing to help the students achieve understanding.
For this assignment we were learning more about feedback and how it works and does not work in some ways. It was interesting to learn that even though we know feedback can be very helpful there is still not a fully clear and easy way to help educators use feedback. I feel like I have a much better grip on what I need to do but without practice it is difficult to find out how feedback can be as helpful as you want it. Plus the ideas that you have no idea how each individual student reacts to feedback can be quite difficult. Even if you know your students fully, which would take quite a bit of time before you are comfortable assessing the type of student they are. There is no way a teacher can know how the feedback is affecting the student since the affects are all internal. The rubric itself was more of an adjustment on where feedback, which is most of my criteria at this point, can be applied to my rubric. I noticed myself changing a lot of my thought about feedback with my rubric but not as much based on what the assessment should be doing as much as what the teacher should be doing. I did not add nearly as much as I learned in this section because I felt it was more based on how a teacher should behave and not as much an assessment.
For this assignment we were asked to look at a ¨genre¨ of assessment common for our discipline. My discipline being Social studies I thought a lot about what would potentially be something I would want to look at beyond the common multiple choice test. I then remembered how many times I have been asked to continue doing lecture and notes. I´m not one to brag but I know that I have been told that the lectures I give are very informative and helpful. My issue is I don´t think that middle school students tend to agree with this statement. Yes there are some days that I give a lecture and the students are very into it but it’s usually based on content and not so much on me. So it got me thinking about the times I have been asked to give lectures and notes as part of my evaluations and walk through´s and how it´s been asked to make sure students are taking notes. Many times it leads a teacher to move into guided readings and notes. I try my best not to but sometimes I fall into the trap of teaching how I was taught and use the guided notes. I wanted to look at the ¨genre¨ and try to break it down with our readings to determine if this is a practice I can use to actually help my students if it is something I am going to be asked to do. So, please click on the link below if you would like to dive into my analysis of guided readings and notes.
This version took me quite a bit longer to put together from Rubric 1.0. I went through the readings as best I could but I felt like there was so much information coming at me that I sometimes struggled with exactly what I wanted to express for my particular assessment assessment. I found myself wanting to change the way I teach and not so much the way I assess. I feel like I have been able to get my ideas across in this version of the rubric but I know that I am VERY far away from anything that would be considered usable at this point. In this version I don’t like writing “the assessment” for the criteria but I wanted to look into that later and right now focus my attention on what the assessments should be looking for and once I get a better understanding of exactly where I want to go I can go back and redesign the criteria wording to better fit what I want it to look like. I also feel like I was showing evidence in each section to why each criteria was necessary for it to be a valuable assessment but when reading the assignment details I kept thinking that I didn’t complete the evidence goal as it’s being asked.
I was quite happy with the fact that I am at 10 criteria as of right now and I know that there are many more ideas that I think I want to add but I am still trying to process these ideas. I was leaning towards the quality over quantity aspect for this. I could have gone into less detail on these 10 and added all of my ideas or I could have focused my thinking on these ten.
I am also thinking that I wanted to ass more from Wiggins, G.P. & McTighe, J. 2005 Understanding by design. But when reading that I came across so many things that I felt I kept re-reading paragraphs and I was still unable to focus my thought from redesigning my teaching to redesigning my assessments. I hoped that with more looks into the rubrics and studies, by creating my rubric 2.0, and another reading of their book I might be able to narrow my focus and thinking better on what they are discussing because my rubric would be slightly more focused at that point.
Here is a copy of my assessment that I went over. I have the answer to questions being asked about my assessment and how it compares to my previous post for Rubric 1.0 below.
- a) How would I describe the design of this assessment? (e.g., is it a test? a cloze activity? a group project? an essay assignment? a portfolio assignment etc.?)
This project is a group project. It was designed to help students work together to analyze the standard for the Constitution section of U.S. history. The students tend to struggle on the constitution so the intention was to allow them to discuss and work out together the complex answer of only one of the seven sections.
- b) What is the purpose of the assessment?
The assessment is there to help students explain the complex standards of the Constitution. The standards are usually quite confusing for the students and when put all together can be very daunting to understand. This assessment came after lectures/discussions on the topics and the creation of the Constitution. The students had an opportunity to look into just one aspect of creating the Constitution and then explain it in a way that they understand for their classmates to get a better understanding of as well. The opportunity for students to be able to present their information any way they saw fit would help them find a creative outlet for their information to help it make sense more to them and to others.
- c) What assumptions have I made about this assessment?
Assumption 1- the students understood the basics of the Constitution during the prior lessons taught on the subject. Without the prior understanding the students would be at a very big disadvantage when they try to take on the more complex standard.
Assumption 2- the students would know the vocabulary of the standards by this point. Without understanding of the vocabulary the question just looks like a bunch of gibberish to them.
Assumption 3- the students would be able to come up with something that fully answers the standard. The students do not know the answer and without guidance and discussion they will have a very difficult time arriving at an answer that helps explain what happened.
Assumption 4- each student would fully participate in the assignment without having one student take full control over getting it done. If a student sits back and lets the other group members complete the task they will not actually be retaining anything and I have no checks or assessments to see if all students are understanding their question.
Assumption 5- The teacher will be completing daily assessments by walking around and helping each group complete their projects. This can be tough because there is no built in model to help not just the students but the teacher know what types of things they are looking for Shepard (2000) mentions explicit criteria set up to “know the rules” and this does not set up many rules for the students to follow (Shepard 2000, pg 11)
THIRD: Take another look at your assessment through the lens of your Rubric 1.0. How does this assessment reflect (or not!) the criteria that you’ve identified so far as being important? Please note that you’ll often need to look beyond the piece of paper (or PDF, etc.) in front of you to judge your criteria. For example, if you’ve based one of your criteria on Black and Wiliam’s (1998) definition of formative assessment (that is, assessment that informs future teaching), you might not be able to tell from the assessment itself whether it gets used to make tweaks to future teaching. In that case, draw on your own history and memories to add a little extra information!
I don’t think the assessment is terrible on the idea of the content it is trying to help the students understand but the three major things I want to do with my rubrics are not prevalent in the project. I ask the students to complete the work on their own without any forms of assessment being done during the project besides the final due date. Now I am aware that I assumed that I would be helping the student along the way and be doing some assessment. But as Shepard (2000) mentions that students need an explicit criteria to help them along the way (shepard 200, pg 11). I feel this is incredibly important for not only the students but also the teacher. I can assume that I would be able to check and assess the students projects on a daily basis but without anything concrete for me to follow how do I check for understanding? I like the idea of being able to talk with the students to look for understanding but I feel that something needs to be tracked in order for me to better assess and help the students learn.
I also think that this assessment needs to help the students by creating goals for each question that they are trying to attain. Like I had mentioned in Rubric 1.0 the students need to know what an excellent answer looks like and where they need to be to fully complete their project. I gave very vague points for “fully answering the question” that doesn’t help the student reach a goal at all it just gives me a place that I can award points. So the evaluation portion of this assessment is not very well put together if I want to students to be able to understand their question and not just turn something in. This is very much set up for them to complete the one answer that I wanted them to find and not actually learn the material. “there is a tendency to emphasize quantity and presentation of work and to neglect its quality in relation to learning.” (Black & Williams 1998, pg 141) This quote from Black & Williams sums up exactly what I was doing in this assessment.
I do know that when completing this assignment there were many students who did not fully understand their question and were not able to present the information as well as I had planned. The project was successful for the most part but there were groups here and there in each class that did not meet expectations. I feel that if I would have had the three parts from rubric 1.0 in this assessment I could have helped prevent this by seeing more things ahead of time when the students were completing their work.
Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-144.
Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4-14.
For this module I’ve been asked to look into some information on assessment and evaluation and try to come up with a few ideas and aspects that I would like to put into my own rubric for assessments. For this rubric I do not have a particular project or paper in mind for what I would like to do yet. I am just currently thinking about the broader aspects of a rubric and what I would like to see encompass all of my projects and papers throughout the year. I know that my rubrics to be detailed and clear for the students so they know what they need to be doing. Shepard (2000) suggested that you need to have explicit criteria set up for the student so they “know the rules” ahead of time for what they need to be doing (Shepard, 2000, p. 11). I am still building the ideas behind the rubric. In my mind I have so many things that I am trying to incorporate without over-inflating the rubric with needless or too overpowering for the teacher ideas. Trying to set up a path for student learning instead of an evaluation is my mindset as of right now. I have three things that I am looking for on the first draft of my rubric. It started with 6 but I realized that some of these could be pushed in together to help make it more streamlined for the student. So please click the link here to see the same introduction and then three aspects of a rubric that I have been working on.
Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4-14.
When you think of a classroom what exactly comes to mind? First off let me narrow it down for you, I teach history, in middle school, so when you think of a middle school history classroom what comes to mind. I bet I can guess, perfect rows of desks facing a chalk or dry erase board. The teacher in the front giving a lecture, then telling students to read a chapter, then handing out a worksheet that covers the information of the day. There would probably be a quiz about the worksheet the next day and the whole things begins again. As Elton John put it, its the circle of life, same thing everyday helping students learn to regurgitate history facts. This is correct and true for a lot of history classes. But this is also far from learning and at the same time far from what many history teachers do, myself included. First off let me tell you that by putting desks in rows it puts the focus on the teacher, which in a lecture based class is exactly what you want. But this doesn’t work very well for collaboration and learning.
I will admit, when I began teaching I had rows. Why you ask? Because it helped me take my time away from thinking about classroom set up and let me focus on the content I needed to teach. There is a lot of information you have to get out as a teacher in your first year or two and setting up a classroom was not something I had time to manage. I am not the only one to have this issue either to read more about the evolution of classroom set up please read this article by Colleen Lee, Published by Edumonic. Going through my college of education I always knew I wanted to set up my classroom in a variety of ways. I still believe that desk arrangement can be just as important as a book when it comes to learning the content. But my hire date for my first year was 2 days before school started. So I had a lot of planning to do and desks were not on my list. There was so much to learn that year (I didn’t even know the discipline policy until about half way through the year) that I never got to rearrange my desks how I wanted to for the content. Now that I’ve been teaching for 5 years I have had a lot of fun with classroom arrangement. It’s almost every 2-3 weeks I rearrange the desks based on what we will be doing in the classroom. If the assignment calls for a debate the desks go facing each other in two sides. If it calls for collaboration and group thinking they go into bunches. If it calls for discussion on the constitution or congress we set the desks up in a half circle around to room like they sit in congress. I have a lot of fun with the desk alignment and the look of the room.
When reading this you might think about my desire to rearrange the classroom. All of the things I talked about, debate, group work, discussions on the constitution, that can all be done in rows. I like to think of this as something I can chalk up to my passion quotient and creative quotient. Passion quotient (PA) is similar to Intelligence quotient (IQ). The passion someone exhibits in their work. This is also linked with a creativity quotient (CQ). A person ability to be creative (Freidman, 2013). Between the three quotients I would say that my IQ is the lowest, PQ is second and CQ is my best quality. I cannot stop thinking about new ways to make things more interesting. I usually get reprimanded by my peers for changing a game in the middle because it would add a new dimension to it. I feel though that PQ and CQ are very closely related. If you care enough about something and you have a great passion for it you want to make it the best you can. For me especially my PQ and CQ are directly linked. When we discuss the causes of the American Revolution in my class I get so excited about the content that could potentially be learned that I have yet to do the exact same thing in my class for the last 5 years. It continues to evolve. But I feel this is an important trait to have. Not only as a professional, but also as a teacher and as a mentor/role model. When students see things changing and adapting on the spot to help them learn more, they realize how important it is to be able to adapt and change. In Thomas Freidman’s article about the future workforce he creates the ideas of PQ and CQ along with IQ (Freindman, 2013). I feel that the best way to see these work is by example. When students see the change and then have to make the change with you, they start to realize that they can accomplish tasks in many other ways than one. When students start to look at things in different ways they begin to realize that problems are not that hard to solve when you have multiple routes to get there. They then realize that it’s even easier when you are creating the route that fits best for you.
All of this bring me to my topic at hand. My ideal redesign for my classroom. I was asked to create my ideal classroom and set it up to help integrate technology, my passion, my creativity, and my teaching all into one setting. I thought long and hard about what I’d like to do. I had to pose the question: Is this my ideal room with no restrictions or is this my current room reformatted? I was told that it could be whatever I wanted it to be. The more I thought about it the more I felt that I should try to redesign my own classroom to fit my best needs. I know very well that money is a major constraint to why I don’t, and won’t, have what I’d like to see in my classroom. But at the same time i wanted to make changes that weren’t so off the wall that I may be able to implement them in the coming years. I have two pictures for you below which shows you my classroom that I wish I could have.
There are only a few changes for this room that I don’t have in my current room. Before I get to that though let me tell you about the room you see. First things first, I would LOVE to have a 1-1 Ipad classroom. If you notice though I do not have a section for the Ipads in the room. If I had my ideal situation the students would have their Ipads with them 24 hours a day. That way they are constantly connected with not only the social networks and internet they want but also a part of my classroom. If they students are anything like me there are moments of boredom with the technology and they start to look at the apps that are available. I feel it would be nothing but beneficial to have the apps I have preloaded for them and the classroom content be a part of that boredom relief. Plus it allows them to stay connected all day long with the class. I would like to use blogs and social media to turn in assignments and discuss content outside of the class. If they have their Ipads on them there is no reason to not participate, unless they just don’t want to participate (which makes my job easier because now I know who to talk to privately).
I would have three different white board with projectors and apple TV connected. I would prefer 3 different apple TV’s as well. Giving my students access to the apple TV board so during a discussion or debate they can pull up their information on the board for all to see.
I would like to add a computer station for the students as well. Not everyone enjoys typing on an Ipad and this would give them an opportunity to use laptops to complete assignments over just Ipads. I did choose the shape though to continue with collaboration and discussion while working at the computers. I thought about just having a classroom set of laptops for the students to use but I liked the separation of the laptops to give those who are working on similar assignments their own space to work that feels separate. If they just grabbed a laptop and sat at their desks they may not be near anyone working on a similar assignment, which would prevent them from properly collaborating.
The desks are currently arranged in a way that I feel would be a main stay or the default set up. I would still plan on moving desks around at my own pleasure but I don’t want to students to be able to move where ever they choose. I do this because many times the set up is part of the lesson. The way they sit might have significance or importance to the lesson and I like to have the students figure that out on their own. If they are free to roam in their desks then I don’t think it has the same impact. The way the desks are arranged in the default setting though allows for not only collaboration but also for debate and discussion. They are facing each other but also in groups. It give space for someone to be the forefront (if they have a point that needs attention drawn to) but also gives them their privacy and intimacy to discuss amongst themselves.
Overall this allows me to have whatever type of lesson I would like to do. Even though I don’t think lecture is the best way to learn sometimes telling a story can be beneficial to students trying to learn (Gee, 2013), I still have the opportunity to do that if necessary but the focus isn’t on me, it’s on them. That is the important part of teaching. Is allowing students to realize that the focus and importance of learning isn’t coming from the district, the school, their parents, their teachers, or anything else they think it comes from. The focus of learning has to come from them. Personal ability to adapt comes from their passion in a subject, their creativity in a subject, and their intelligence in that subject. I feel my classroom allows them to find these three things in their lives to become what they want to or need to become. Technology alone is not the final answer. This has to come from within. Technology can bring it out, content can bring this out, good teaching can bring this out, but the thing that will do it best is the combination of all three. (Mishra and Koehler, 2013)
-Lee, C. (2014) What Your Classroom Setup May Be Saying to Students. Edudemic. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/classroom-setup/?fb_action_ids=694559880791&fb_action_types=og.likes
-Friedman, T. L. (2013). It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as I.Q. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/opinion/friedman-its-pq-and-cq-as-much-as-iq.html?_r=0
-Gee, J.P. (2013) The Anti-Education era: creating smart students through digital learning. New York, NY: PalegraveMacMillan Press.
-Mishra, P. & Koehler. M. J. (2009). Too cool for school? No way! Using the TPACK framework: You can have your hot tools and teach with them, too. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(7), 14-18