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Jumping in head first…

on October 18, 2012

So I’ve been thinking about that “underutilised” component of assessment- student created assessments and what that would look like in my classroom. Last night, when I was tossing and turning (where great ideas come from), I thought, “I taught that lesson on odd and even numbers yesterday, I think it went well, but I need some documentation to support my hunch”. Thinking back to what we’ve been talking about, I immediately thought about allowing my students to demonstrate their knowledge. I decided to frame the activity by telling them what I needed to know and thus what they had to show me. We brainstormed possible ways that they could demonstrate that knowledge and I set them loose (a very frightening experience at first) but, what a great experience! I actually said out loud to myself, “Why didn’t I do this before?”

I didn’t grab my clipboard until later. First, I circulated and everyone was EAGER to demonstrate what they know. I started conferencing haphazardly with students. Prompting them to get on track- not providing answers but clarifying concepts that you could see were just beginning to be formed.

Before closing the activity, I grabbed my clipboard and jotted down important information that I gathered from the activity. I was pleasantly surprised. I took some pictures of some of the things that they came up with. ImageImageImageImage

I guess the difference between this and what I’ve done before is that I’ve framed the assessment more. This one was student-selected, sometimes collaborative and very telling. I am definitely going to do this again!

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3 responses to “Jumping in head first…

  1. Tanya Smith says:

    Great pics, Nicole! I’ve always found that when you’re upfront with students and tell them what you need them to demonstrate (without telling them how to do it), they’ll usually surprise you with their ingenuity and thought processes! I frequently do “show me what you know” sessions with particular curriculum outcomes. At the beginning of the year, we brainstorm different ways they can show me what they know about math and then when I ask them to show me what they know, they get right to it after looking back at the chart. It becomes a wonderful tool for assessment and the students don’t feel like they’re doing work at all.
    Tanya

  2. brownnmes says:

    I love this Nicole! It is great to see what the students could demonstrate on their own. It will be interesting to note how students react the next time you have them choose how they can show what they know, after having completed this type of assessment once. The pictures, and interviews that took place as you circled around the room, are a great indicator of student knowledge!

  3. lorijc says:

    Great idea Nicole! I really liked that from the outset you were clear on what they needed to know (show). I also liked the brainstorning activity of ways that they could show what they know. It provided soft models or suggestions on how students might proceed. The photos are a great digital representation of student learning. Maybe the photos sould be included in a digital portfolio of learning (either teacher or student created)?

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