Monday, March 9, 2015

Pushing My Students Beyond "Good Enough"

My class using a rubric system for grading ELA and math...The scoring, be it the academic content or the behavior content, is essentially the same:

1 - I need help.
2 - I need some reminders.
3 - I got this (independently with no help).
4 - I can use this knowledge to impact others.

Student created content comes when my students are trying to push themselves from a 3 to a 4.  There are a variety of ways they can do are just a few:
  • Review videos (my kids LOVE this)
  • Review games on Kahoot (my kids LOVE this too)
  • Create a board game (I have several laminated blank board games they can fill in)
  • Solve a "real-world" problem (I have at least 1 of these for each math unit)
  • Student choice (I always leave an option open where students get a chance to come up with their own idea for a project)
While not everyone has a chance get to this point, there are many who work really hard to get the opportunity.  

I would love more ideas on what kids can do to show that they not only get it, but can push themselves deeper into the content, push themselves to do more than what is just "good enough".

Monday, March 2, 2015

10/10 Project

So I'm sitting in Pittsburgh chatting with my good buddy David Fouch & he says to me.  "You know what, I think we should do a project together."  At first I thought he might be kidding because he teaches AP US History & I teach 5th graders, not to mention the fact that we teach in different districts...seriously, how in the world could we do a collaborative project with our students.

As it often happens, one comment leads to an idea, which leads to another idea, which leads to something awesome!

So here's the project...his 10th grade students will be creating some video lessons on topics in history (topics my students choose).  My 10 year olds will watch, and complete an assignment (which his students will also be planning and giving feedback on...yeah me!).

In the meantime, my class will be learning about the elements of a good story and the historical fiction genre.  Throughout the month of March we'll be reading The Watson's Go to Birmingham - 1963 and the students will be writing their own historical fiction story.

Here's the catch...their story has to somehow connect to what they learned from David's class.  So let's say they are interested in learning about the Olympics. When they write their story, it needs to somehow involve the Olympics.  Maybe the main character is an Olympic athlete in the games, maybe the setting takes place in the Olympic skating rink...who knows???

When they finish their stories, we'll submit them to David's class (sometime after the AP test because lord knows he has plenty of material to get through before then), and they'll give feedback and help with any historical innacuracies.  Then they'll have 2 weeks to perfect/illustrate/publish their stories.

The really fun part of this whole thing is that close to the end of the year my class is going to go hang out with his class for a day & share our stories.

Today we started learning about historical fiction AND story elements.  Today David's class started planning their videos.

Today my class got SUPER excited because they found out that a bunch of 10th graders are taking the time to make something for them.  Today David's class got all worried because they don't think they'll have enough time to make their videos perfect.

And so the 10/10 Project was born (get it, 10th graders and 10 year olds)...I'm just hoping it's as awesome as I think it's going to be!