“If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done”
– Thomas Jefferson
When I first moved to Colorado, I wanted to be one of those people who had climbed a fourteener, one of the 54 mountain peaks here in CO that are above 14,000 feet. It was something that I had never done before, an arduous climb filled with giant boulders, to the top of a windy mountain peak. We started at the trailhead around 4:30 am and summited about 7:00 am on that same summer morning. It was well worth it. The 360-degree views with miles of visibility were unlike anything I had ever experienced. The wind was blowing rigorously as it blew my hair around and filled up my clothing, a feeling that I can go back to when I visualize the experience. An experience that I choose to have because of something I wanted. This climb is much like the arduous joyful climb that I am enduring in changing my classroom over to a student-led space. A choice I am making because I want my students to truly experience the joy of learning and creating. One of the biggest changes that I am embracing in class is the idea that students can be creators of content. I decided that the topic of space rocks was a topic that I would use to encourage students to become creators of content by producing videos for youtube.
Character is grown in the climb, where the risks are taken and knowledge is gained. Standing on the peak is easy and even though the climb may be hard, it is what matters most. I choose to climb.
New and Better:
- Giving students complete control over how they presented their understanding of the different type of space rocks. Students could use any tool to present (technology or paper and pen).
- The advanced (4 for standards-based grading) portion of the rubric was left blank so that students could extend their own learning above the standard in their own way.
- Students who want their work shared with the world had their presentations converted and uploaded onto my teacher youtube channel.
Overall, students were engaged in the task. The project was introduced using an information graphic which ended up being one of the main sources that students used to gather information (not the richest in content). I think introducing the topics in a different way may have allowed students to create more authentic presentations of the content and used more resources. I’m not actually sure that students did, in fact, create their own content. I did upload their videos onto youtube which had students all a buzz. I don’t feel as if the open portion of the rubric for the advanced portion was as effective as I hoped. Next time I offer this choice in the rubric there will be criteria regarding a reflection to be turned in with the project of how it goes above the standard. I also felt as if I ran out of time to teach students how to convert the files over and need to make the time as its taking to much of my time to do it.
- Do not use the information graphic to introduce the content. Create a slide show with the images to have a discussion beforehand, or have some sort of fun vocabulary sort to do at the beginning before having them create the projects.
- Teach students how to convert the presentation files to movie files on their own.
- The advanced portion of the rubric needs a written reflection to be turned in to justify how it is going above the standard.
I will continue to work hard and climb on from good to great! Time to dig!