TCEA 7– Developing Expert Voices

Darren Kuropatwa session discussing project based learning and designing driving questions.  Session Notes and slides for session.

Project Based learning is NOT teaching everything they need to know before they start the project.  They are still tied to the curriculum, you don’t know the driving questions are ones the students need to create, etc.  So there is a stress level there for teachers starting it.

Assessment should allow new evidence of student achievement to replace the old evidence (student gets better–how does evidence reflect that?)

How do we design assignments from the front end so that the project has a life beyond being turned in to a teacher?

Shares example of students making a video where they create their OWN word problem and narrates it in video.  They TELL the story.  They become the mathematician. (or historian or whatever by creating/telling the story themselves).

So what do grades mean in relation to this?  A number on a report card may be used to rank students, sort them, evaluate them, grade them on attendance, etc.  How do we use a number that says something meaningful about what a student has learned?

How do we change student voices into expert voices?   And what are we looking at in terms of assessment?  Typically we emphasize written tests, and not performance tasks or oral conferences, etc.   Darren feels that we should emphasize performance tasks which seem to display more evidence of student learning and growth.

Get kids to create stuff that teaches others what they’ve learned from you is key.  EAch student has that unique lens that they see the world through–so that story comes through.

Darren’s example–he asked his students at beginning of semester to create (not copy) four problems that are representative of what they had learned.  Provide annotated solutions to the problems;  they should be annotated so an interested learner can understand.  Includes a brief summary reflection and comment on what was learned. (paraphrase on my part).

Created a Google Doc to collaboratively develop the rubric with students.  He put a few starter ideas and the students created a rubric that would evaluate their reflective learning.  (Ideally rubric should have even number of levels– like 1-6 because it forces evaluator to decide “top half” or “botton half”.  Darren pointed out a 5 point rubric — people sort of default to the middle and you don’t really know if it is the top or the bottom half.  #interesting   Students created 3 categories for judging and decided how to rank each category in terms of points.  (How rarely do we ask students to create a rubric collaboratively and think through how something SHOULD be evaluated.  )  This takes a rubric to a web 2.0 place, which is collaborative and not time-constrained.  And can ask students across class periods to work together which takes a different level. You won’t necessarily get 100% students to buy in but it is their evaluation.

Students ended up having a deep discussion about what math problems were, what creativity grade should be based on, what words describe creativity, what are the levels of creativity, etc.   Did in a Google Doc so the discussion could happen.

As he started grading the problems, he had a problem with the rubric because the percentages for the category weren’t reflecting the quality because they were penalizing one category too much.  So he went back to the students and had a discussion about it and then they voted on what the percentages for the categories should be.

Had students look ahead through the curriculum and pick out what sorts of problems they wanted to do-did that at the beginning of the year.  When they got to that unit, they were very active listeners because it was THEIR unit that they needed to create a problem from.

I think the fact that the students participated in creating the rubric ahead of time, discussed its merits, etc.  meant that they were much more invested in actually completing the assignment.

So for example, a group of students did a video based off of Halo.  They created characters and an adventure and then determined parabolas and filmed the whole scene.  They were trying to get the creativity points from the rubric.  (And look how they were able to bring their gaming interest into the problem creation, and how other students could bring in their own interests as well.)

Another sample short project-based type of assignment–asked students to take a photo from their real life to represent quadratic equation.  Then upload it to flickr and put notes on the image to explain.  (Add a tag for the class so all of them can be located)






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