In my previous posts I have mentioned that I am trying to show my students that we are on this learning journey together. To that end I wanted to show them that I don’t just make our learning goals or rubrics out of thin air.
I showed them that in Ontario, all teachers follow the curriculum documents for each subject and we get our direction and learning expectations for each course from these documents. Of course these documents are not written in student friendly language. To bridge the gap between curriculum documents and the students, I gave groups in each of my classes a list of the learning expectations. Then, for this exercise, I modeled how to re-word one of the expectations and asked them to change the rest to student friendly language.
Here’s what I learned:
- Randomly grouped students were not a good idea. I should have made the groups myself, as a few of the groups ended up wavering and struggling. I should have taken the range of student learning styles into account.
- Giving students a list of more than 10 expectations was overwhelming. Smaller groups with fewer expectations would have been better. Groups of two working on 2-3 expectations would have been ideal.
- I thought this would be quick and easy and would take no more than 30 minutes. I was very wrong…. It ended up taking a whole class period (75 min) and a half. (Even I was bored!) It mostly took time because I had to move from group to group re-explaining what I was looking for. I thought it would be easy because I do it all the time. I had neglected to take into account that my students had never looked at these documents before. Students needed considerably more scaffolding.
- I had each group create their own Google doc and share it with me. I spent a great deal of time cutting, pasting and editing each groups docs to create the final document. I should have had the students work on their own small piece; then join together to create the final document. This would have been more time efficient.
Live and learn.
In the end though, we did have some success. As an example, we ended up going from:
Writing expectation 1.5 “determine whether the ideas and information gathered are relevant to the topic, sufficient for the purpose, and meet the requirements of the writing task”.
W1.5 I am able to figure out if the ideas and information I gathered are talking about my topic, will work will with my topic and meet the requirements of the writing task.
It could still use some “tweaking”, but students were able to tell me what it meant, so we’re running with it for now.
While I will definitely streamline the process for next semester, the end result was good. We have used these re-defined expectations to create a couple of rubrics together.
For the first rubric, students looked at the expectations document and then as a class we discussed the assignment and what we wanted to assess. I sat at the computer and copied and pasted the expectations into the blank rubric on the screen while we talked. When we were finished, I simply shared the document with everyone.
For our next rubric, I choose to assess their grammar and punctuation, but left the first two expectations blank. Students then, individually, looked at the expectations and choose two that they personally wanted to work on. I also had them reflect on how they were going to meet their chosen expectations. From the feedback they have been receiving most students were very quickly able to determine expectations to pursue.
My next step with learning expectations is to have students choose two goals they wish to set for the next unit.
Have you been exploring student created rubrics? I’d love to here how it has worked for you.