Participation in developing an assessment that shows what we know about weathering seemed to be a perfectly natural thing as I considered how to best assess their understanding. Because inquiry and investigation is so personal, regardless of the lesson goal or mastery of the standard, it made sense to include this personalization this time. It also increases the level of rigor, rather than just studying for a test.
Get them going! I opened today's lesson by asking my kids and writing on the whiteboard if we could "show off" what you know about weathering what would you choose to be the most important things ? Remember you have to show mastery of understanding how erosion by wind, water and ice affect the landscape and that we can measure them. One student referred to a video he had seen of Washington's latest problems with erosion. Other students shared other videos, which led me to believe that videos made a huge impact on their connections to the real world and that it was important to them.
I asked them if they would like to design their own assessment? They were very excited!
Next, I presented my "To get you going! Classroom SB file", to guide them along. I turned to the first page and we developed it as I questioned them. (The final SB file, is our final developed ideas. In your class, you could either use this file for more direct instruction, or create your own to help your students as I did to choose and brainstorm ideas.) I guided the development until we covered what I thought was important. However, I didn't let on that any of it was my idea! I emailed them a pdf so they could have a copy on their iPads to refer to for the future.
We discussed each weathering investigation we did, and how these showed us evidence of weathering. The we reviewed how those investigations connect to the real world as we talked about each movie we had seen in the unit and how it showed examples of weathering. We discussed our own landscape around us ( since we are rural) and how we see examples of change in the landscape due to wind. The dialogue was rich with precise vocabulary we had learned, such as "erosion, deposit, and sediment."
I posed the question: When did we understand that we could measure weathering? One student said that it was during the Dunes lesson, one student said that it was during the TarPul lesson. I asked if they thought that learning about data and how it can be used to measure the weathering process helped them understand that there was changes going on?
These rich questions evoked memories of their experiences and helped support a final thinking process that would inspire the next steps in planning their assessment.
As I opened the second page of the SB file, I asked them what they thought were good planning habits for a presentation? They immediately said that they needed a web. I explained that they needed a plan and that a web was a good strategy for planning. I complimented them on their immediate response to the idea of planning to help all recall this essential process as important. I notice that complimenting one reinforces thoughts of others who may have forgotten. I asked what they thought they wanted to use in their presentation in the end to be able to convey their knowledge to their audience?
One student raised his hand and shared. "Photos!" was followed by a chorus of sharing of idea and opinions. Questions, movie clips, pictures from our notebooks, pictures from the internet...and the list went on as I listed them on the board.
I started to go over the list on the second page of the SB file. They expressed immediate disappointment in the page limit. I explained that if I didn't limit their pages to 6, it would take longer and not necessarily focus on the most important points! However, I said that if I needed to meet the personal needs of students, I would extend the page limit if they could prove they needed the extra pages.
I explained that this time would be spent in using their class time to gather all of the materials, data and reflect on the unit. I told them to write wind, water and ice erosion and make a column to list the resources they currently have to produce data that would be used. This reference would help them plan.
Our app of choice is Simple Mind. They set to work, starting by looking at notebooks, data sheets and other materials from their past lessons that helped them remember their learning process.
As it came time to finish up I asked them to share their work. One student shared her plan as I shared her web on the Smart Board for all to see. She used colors well and shared that she knew that she needed some more things. I explained by referring to the question, "What is your evidence?" I switched the discussion outward asking if anyone could share a bit of data they had planned within their web. One student said that he planned to include the data from the sand dunes.
I told them that they would see their plan come together further as we create a rubric together in the next science lesson. I told them that their planning time today helped them see how to put together their materials so they could further develop their assessment.
I am so excited! I can't wait until tomorrow!