Something interesting happened when I forgot to set a Google form that I was using as a formative assessment to “Limit to one response”. Students who noticed this and weren’t satisfied with their results immediately retook the test. At first my response was to stop them from doing it, but I then had a thought. I’ve been reading, Learner Centered Innovation, by Katie Martin and was inspired to ask: “What if students could reflect on and retake an assessment until they showed proficiency?” I thought, what is the harm in having them do the corrections in the moment, and learn and grow from their misunderstandings immediately? Why not?
Our school uses a standards based grading system. Students are encouraged to retake assessments and for most content areas it is a combination of correcting wrong responses and retaking. For a while now I’ve had my students prepare for retakes by writing out (digitally or by hand) the correct response and then conferencing with them, before or as the retake. Then a couple weeks ago I forgot to limit the number of tries students could have on that Google form. I found out that I didn’t need to conference with every single student as I always had done. Some students simply needed to see the solution to make a change in their understanding. I changed the form to include a reflection question for them to respond to after retaking the assessment.
“I thought the distance jumped meant one for every jump, up and down. So I did 10 times one for every jump so I incorrectly read the directions. I now know the jump means up and then down, so really it was 20 jumps. I also messed up on the displacement because I thought that she moved 1 meter each time from when the base of the trampoline. I also now know that force and distance is how the work is done because distance is how far the object moves and the force makes that happen.”
Its not a perfect response or a process, but it does allow for the students to own their learning and recognize how they have grown in their understanding! Having a record of the reflection also allows the teacher to check in and have a starting point for conversations with students.
This is how the data looked without any retakes.
This is data with original data and only the highest retake score if a student choose to retake.
Overall this process shifted from a bell curve to a plateau with only a couple students near the bottom and most students at the top! I’m excited to continue this practice. Student feedback is next!
The bell curve wasn’t the only thing that shifted. My mindset shifted to explore the new and unknown as I asked, “What if?” I realized that these changes can be small and have a major impact on my students understanding of the content!
My niece Emma is a Slimetist. That’s right, a self-proclaimed 11-year-old Slimetist! You may have one in your household too. She has made about seven gallons of slime, watched just about every video on every variation on how to make it, and has done this all on her own time. She is problem-solving, thinking creatively, using the scientific method and math skills to do something she loves. She inspired me through her genuine enthusiasm and passion that was shining through when she talked about it and made me realize that I need to provide these types of experiences for my students. She showed confidence and used communication skills as she filmed her own 45-minute video (which we edited to about 14 minutes). She’s even considering creating a slime business. As I listened to and watched her I couldn’t help but wonder, why is it that most students don’t have time to do this type of work at school? and … How can I provide more opportunities like this for students to follow their own line of questioning in order to show understanding, application, and synthesis of the science content that they are learning in the time they spend with me? As education evolves we are all faced with this challenge of helping students to develop the skills for solving the big problems of the world. This year I want to work on creating opportunities for my students to begin to look for and find their own inner slimetist. So where do you get your inspiration from to do better for your students? Who’s your slimetist?
Check out her video here: Emmas’ 1st How to Make Slime Video!
In thinking of where education is headed, I truly see students as the creators of content and change. In helping students to connect with professionals for a year long passion project I have been seeing the potential that connecting students with these professionals can do. What if students had direct access to the huge knowledge base from all the professionals in our communities? What if there was a more organic connection between business and education that gave students a way to be able to contribute in authentic ways with those professionals to develop their passions earlier. Students creating content for their communities!
What if students were also able to reach out to other students to ask them the questions they have about the geography, economy or political systems in their areas instead of hearing it second hand from a teacher or text? I believe that connecting students to students through this creating of content for each other will help to build a more tolerant, understanding and truly connected world. Students creating content for students. This is the vision that I presented in my application for the Google Educator Innovator Program. I didn’t get it this time…however I know I can do better and hope to do a better job as I misinterpreted the number of characters as number of words and had to butcher my writing in the last 30 minutes before it was due! I can’t wait to try again and do my very best! :):):)
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
It is official! I am now a Google Certified Educator Level 2, which has been about a year and a half in the making. You can do it too!
It was a smooth process to complete the online self-paced training and being able to complete the units on my own time made it possible for me to fit the learning into my schedule. I enjoyed integrating what I was learning into my instruction which allowed my students and me to learn together! The new challenges in learning about and integrating the tools into instruction and sharing them with students were well worth a little bit of struggle as new things were presented and tweaked to work in our learning environment.
I highly recommend to anyone using G suite that they also access the training that is available through Google Educator Training. Each individual unit can be done in a short period of time and you don’t have to do them in order so you can learn what you want or need to learn! The ability to take a test and get a certification allows for the learner to see their growth and is a super fun extra in my opinion. The level one test will cost you $10.00 and the level 2 test costs $25.00.
Now I’m onto the next goal! So fun!
We are all creators of content.
This week the new thing that I am trying is to help students become creators of content. In the process of creating the example and a tutorial for students to use to become creators of content I made the connection that one of the many reasons I love being a teacher is that I get to create content. I also realized how many design decisions I was making and what a great opportunity it is for students to have to create content to show not only their understanding of a topic but also their ability to design, problem solve and troubleshoot when creating something! Such a transferable skill!
This what I created to help students create content for examples of energy transformations.
Energy Transformation Video Example
Tutorial Video for Creating Energy Transformation Video
Create. Create. Create.
I am marching by my actions,
greet everyone each day with positivity and hope,
use technology to grow connections that keep the world afloat,
embrace a growth mindset and continue to take risks,
to find creative solutions to problems that exist,
am marching by my actions,
It is time to take this energy and start doing the heavy lifting of what is best for our children, our communities, our families, and each other. Be that change you want in the world. March on. March on. March on.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” ―Aristotle
To create that sweet spot in learning I just have to dive in, try new things and allow it to get a little messy. It seems to me that it is in this space, in the midst of it all is where the magic of learning truly happens.
- Instead of having students do individual research with their own documents they used a shared google slide deck to create a resource that included characteristics of each of the planets and moons in our solar system. Students were to ask at least six of their own questions focused on the important variables to support life such as, atmospheric composition, gravitational force, average temperature, and distance from the sun.
- The shared slide deck was used by all students in the class to find characteristics of the planet that would support their favorite pop culture character or a made up character living on that planet/moon. Evidence was required to support each claim.
- There were a variety of choices for students to choose from to create their own characters or there were bios provided of popular pop culture characters to use as a reference. Students also had the choice of creating a short story with their created characters in it.
- The advanced portion of the assignment was anything that they believed to be above the proficient on the rubric and had to be turned in with a reflection that includes evidence supporting the claim of being above the proficient marking! I also created a hyperdoc for students to use for finding resources, downloading templates as well as turning in and looking at their peers products!
Students were super excited about the project and jumped right in. One change for next year is to create a template slide for the required questions and a template slide for them to add several of their own so there is consistency in how the slides are presented for those students who struggle to find information.
I believe that students might be able to complete the task quicker and use it more easily. The resource that we created was not very useful because students had asked many different questions.
Students really liked the “Pop” and action figure templates that I got out the resources presented in the, Play Like a Pirate book written by Quinn Rollins, which is a great read with lots of applications that you can use right away! Students jumped right in creating characters in series with one another, such as the “Jupiter” and “Pluto” series of characters, and started planning stories around the characteristics as a way to extend their learning.
Some required questions next year need to be:
- What is the gravity on that planetary body?
- Does it have an atmosphere? If so what is it made of?
- How far from the sun is the planetary body? What is the average temperature of the planet?
- What is the rotational and orbital period of the planetary body? (how long is one day and one year?
I am also going to design a google slide deck by changing the master slide to have several choices that will help guide their thinking.
- One slide will be the required questions for consistency
- Second slide will have a space for students to ask their own questions to extend the thinking.
By focusing the research portion I hope that it will take less time to create the resource and actually create a resource that we can use as a class to think about our created/chosen characters!
Into the midst of it I go!