When I transitioned from teaching in the virtual school and returned to the classroom at the beginning of Quarter 3, I readjusted our reading block to incorporate student choice reading with a project-based learning activity. Most of our narrative work is in the first quarter of the school year, and it was very evident that our students needed some form of narrative to maintain engagement with the curriculum. For quarter 3, that meant reading a book of choice and completing a 6-image storyboard with 2 sentence summaries of the main events of the book.
Our ELA curricular emphasis during Q4 is on Science and Social Studies text. Thus, the students will continue to develop narrative understanding by reading a book of their choice. However, Q4 expands on the work of Q3 by including a digital outcome.
To meet the district speaking and writing standards as well as the requirement of student choice opportunities, students will have the option to present live in front of peers or digitally on Seesaw. If students select the digital project via SeeSaw, they will be able to post videos and comments in a moderated environment. They can record, constructively review their work and the work of others, and re-record final submissions.
In preparation for the projects, the students will have an introduction to Seesaw and two short, interactive activities to help them learn the platform.
They will also view two Reading Rainbow videos available on Youtube to identify what makes an engaging video performance.
Link to the student handout of choices is here.
I really love that you are thinking about meeting standards but also allowing student choice which is something that I think is very important. Are all of your students back in the classroom or are you doing some in person and some still online? For me, I would even give this type of choice for my class of juniors.
Right now, my students and I are in the classroom. Strict social distancing applies, but we get to do a few small group things as long as we sanitize each time and wear masks. Our in school vs. remote learning is subject to change about every two weeks and is determined by the decisions of the Germany govt. and military command.
One of the thing that I noticed about your choices is that the options were very diverse and would meet the needs of all different types of students, from the creative minded to the factual type of student. This should help everyone to find one they are comfortable with and make it engaging and meaningful to everyone (or at least most, It seems like there’s always one that likes to pretend they don’t like anything). I think this will engage a lot of learners and can easily work either in person or remotely!
Thank you:) I was trying to design things that would allow for hands on creativity, an informational approach, a writing creativity approach, etc. I also wanted to give options for different platforms and presentations, and just based those choices on what might work best with the given project. The funny part is, they all immediately tried to think about which project required the least work. Once they determined that, they were choice driven.
Thinking again about your pendulum metaphor and the pulls of student choice as well as learning outcomes. As a teacher, you get the benefit of grading a wide variety of projects, which feels much less tedious than the same thing over and over. You mentioned in your other post that your reading time helps build student-teacher relationships. I can imagine that letting students bring their interest and values to an assignment also helps build a relationship.
This is such a creative and inviting assignment. Thinking of opportunities to do more, I wonder if you have students view and respond to their peers? An opportunity to increase student engagement by encouraging peer-to-peer connections. I know how hard it can be to get students to respond substantively to peer work. Do you have methods you’ve tried to help with this?
I should be more explicit than just one sentence about the feedback. For the SeeSaw recordings, students can view and leave comments (I moderate and approve them to make sure they aren’t cruel). For the in class presentation, we fill out compliment & feedback sheets which I hand to the students in an envelope at the end of the week. Normally, I start this process early in the year so that we have built to giving constructive feedback by Q3. But since my class had 2 different substitute teachers for Q1 and Q2 and I only started with them in Q3, we are still building trust with each other via compliments. If they don’t trust each other, we won’t ever get to the point of giving/receiving constructive feedback.