Giving students an opportunity to teach a concept is a timeless idea, because we know how empowering it is for students to be given a chance to show mastery of a concept by teaching it. We also know, however, that from this simple idea to a rigorous execution, lives a gap that can be hard to bridge. This strategy will help you think about support systems, resources and structures to provide your students in order to create and deliver a quality product, and truly continue to learn along the way. It will also help you think about all the new digital resources available around us to help us actualize what the idea of teaching a concept can look like in the 21st Century.
Start by thinking about the process that will lead a student to create and deliver a lesson on a given concept:
Will everybody in the class create a lesson to teach during a given unit/lesson and it will be how they will be assessed?
Will students choose to create a lesson as a way to demonstrate mastery among other options?
Then, think about the product that students will create. Here are some helpful questions to consider:
Will students be teaching this lesson in person to the class or to a small group of students? If so, will they be evaluated on the delivery of the lesson as well as on the design of it?
Will students create the lesson but not deliver it in person? If so, will they create a product such as a poster, video, or podcast which allows others to see their lesson and benefit from it?
How will students be evaluated on their lesson planning?
How will students be evaluated on their delivery, regardless of the format you choose?
How will other students or viewers benefit from the lesson? How will they demonstrate their new understanding?
Once these questions are answered, the roadmap is drawn.
For example a teacher might create the following roadmap: “Students will have a choice board of options to show mastery of a given standard. One of these options will be to create a lesson AND to record it as a video screencast. They will be evaluated both on planning and delivery. The best products will be utilized as resources for Flipped homework.”
From there, leverage the resources included in the resource section below to:
Provide assessment criteria before students begin to create their lessons so that they will know what a quality product will look like. For example, a teacher could develop a rubric for the lesson plan or slide deck, rubrics for the in person or video presentation, or exemplar lessons from the teacher or other students.
Provide resources to support the planning process such as lesson plan templates or slide deck scripts.
Provide tutorials for the creation of digital lessons (screencasts, podcasts, videos, websites, etc.) so that students can be more independent with this piece. Consider the idea of having tech support experts for each tool, to minimize the amount of troubleshooting you will have to do.
Consider inserting peer feedback and/or teacher feedback along the way to help increasing the quality of the product and the rigor of the work they provide.
Do not let these products collect dust or students will lose interest in them. Simple ideas like the following ones will make a big difference:
Evaluate process and product after students deliver their lessons
Provide feedback to students
Utilize the student created resources as promised
Showcase best work and use it as exemplars for next iteration
Repeat the process and it will get better and better.
Students taking on a teaching role in a distance setting is a great way for students to demonstrate their understanding of a topic. Specific considerations for the distance setting will contribute to the success of the strategy.
Use the questions in the above strategy to create the roadmap for students engaging in this strategy. Use a lens of equity and access, when answering the above questions, so that all students have the opportunity to be successful regardless of the technology and support available to them. Make a plan to address any gaps in access and equity.
When selecting from the resources above to leverage, try to select tools that students are already familiar with when possible. If the tools are new or unfamiliar, record or share tutorials with students modeling the use of the features they will use.
Identify checkpoints to check in on student progress. For example, every 3 days, students submit a Google Form updating their progress or checking off the requirements they have completed so far. Students can share their materials and teachers can offer feedback.
Share completed resources with students to demonstrate the value of their work. Link to the resource when providing instructional options to other students. House all completed projects on a Padlet or shared Google Folder.
Be thoughtful about the resources you share with them so that they can do a good job creating and teaching a quality lesson. Too often this idea is an afterthought or a rushed move to find something more challenging to do for some students. Without careful planning (see steps and resources above), it can turn into a waste of their time and yours.
For the rubrics to evaluate lesson planning and delivery, you have a beautiful opportunity to involve your students in the process of helping determine what makes a quality lesson for them and an effective delivery. A brainstorming and organizing activity like this one early in the school year will help you determine how you could improve your teaching skills to better serve your students!
Push their creativity for lesson planning and delivery. It does not have to be a slide show. See what they come up with. It will give you great ideas for your lessons, and they will love that it is inspired by them!
It is absolutely key that you look at their products, give them feedback and, if possible, utilize them in the learning process. Only if you reach this point, will they truly invest themselves in these products because their peers will get to learn from them!
This tool will allow students to record their desktop or a tab of Google Chrome while recording their teaching, and pointing at key elements
This tech tool supports this strategy because it creates easy possibilities for video lessons if students use a laptop or a chromebook
Educreations or Showme
This tool is an interactive recordable whiteboard.
This tech tool supports this strategy because it create easy possibilities for video lessons if students use a tablet
This tools allows for easy creation by students in the cloud (Google Drive) of interactive slide decks
This tech tool supports this strategy because it makes the process to sharing a lesson plan template in a slide deck easy. Additionally, it can create way more than a slideshow, such as game shows, create your own adventure, etc.