This is the sixth in a series of posts (1: What They’ll Know 2: Product Choice & Grading, 3: Content Expectations & Grading, 4: Process & Grading, 5: Scaffolds)about creating powerful product assignments at the end of a unit of study. Now it is time to differentiate.
Differentiation is modifying the assignment to meet each student at their individual learning level based on their readiness, interest, learning style and profile.
For students with a 504 Plan or IEP (Individual Education Plan) these modifications will meet the requirements of those plans. ELL (English Language Learners), depending on their proficiency level and the task may require individualized adjustments or additional scaffolds. High achievers may require an extension activity that challenges their ability level. Low achievers may require extra time or simplification. Truthfully, this list could go on and on and still not list every possible modification. This step is truly based on your students and their needs.
This is the fifth in a series of posts (1: What They’ll Know 2: Product Choice & Grading, 3: Content Expectations & Grading, 4: Process & Grading)about creating powerful product assignments at the end of a unit of study. Now it is time to scaffold for success.
What kind of scaffolds do you need to gather for your students to be successful? For me, rubrics are always the first on this list. I think having the grading guidelines listed clearly from the beginning in very clear and specific language really helps guide students to be successful. Additional ideas could be a variety of brainstorming graphic organizers, timelines, goal sheets, progress monitoring calendars, revising and editing schedules, etc. These will vary based on what your final product is and what your class has used. You don’t always have to build these from scratch, there are lots of free options online. Find what works for you and your students and run with it.
This is the fourth in a series of posts (1: What They’ll Know 2: Product Choice & Grading , 3: Content Expectations & Grading)about creating powerful product assignments at the end of a unit of study. Now it is time to establish your expectations for the process.
First off, will students be graded on the process to create the product in addition to the product itself or only the finished product?
For group projects, I always include a process grade as it is where I cover teamwork. However, I would argue that the process grade is important even for individual projects as it rewards those who create and stick to a plan over those who procrastinate. The goal is to help the students build good work habits.
If you are going to grade the process some things to consider including teamwork, planning, research, editing, communication, ability to stay on the projected timeline, etc.
This is the third in a series of posts (1: What They’ll Know 2: Product Choice & Grading )about creating powerful product assignments at the end of a unit of study. Now you are going to figure out the content expectations.
First up, the students are showing what they know from the unit of study. So what are the requirements that they must meet for content and how will the inclusion of that content be scored?
I personally like using a rubric to grade as it keeps the grading streamlined and transparent. For example, in a biography project, second-grade students must include a date of birth & death, full name, two details about their personal life and three details about why they are famous. That is all 8 required components for a score of 4 out of 4. A score of 3 out of 4 would be granted for 6-7 required components. A score of 2 out of 4 would be granted for 4-5 required components. A score of 1 out of 4 would be granted for 2-3 required components. A score of 0 out of 4 would be granted for 0-1 required components.
This is the second in a series of posts about creating powerful product assignments at the end of a unit of study. In part 1 you figured out what the students must understand, know and/or be able to do after the unit of study. Next up you get to decide how the students are going to present their knowledge or the type of product, the guidelines for that product and how you plan to grade it.
- Are you going to set a required product style such as a travel brochure, Haiku or wiki?
- Are you going to provide students with a short list of options and let them select their product style from the list using an academic choice board?
- Are you going to let students embrace their talents and passions, selecting their product style on their own and then seeking approval from you on their choice?
If you are going with #1 or #2, what are the requirements for the product? How big should it be if it is a physical product? What level of craftsmanship? How many parts will it have? How long should it be (pages, time, number of slides, etc.) if a digital product?
For example, for a fifth-grade slide presentation using the slide medium of their choice students are required to have a minimum of 12 slides in their presentation and every slide should have some sort of visual (graph, chart, image, video, etc.) to earn full credit on this rubric item, 4 points. Students earn 3 out of 4 points for at least 9 slides. Students earn 2 out of 4 points for at least 6 slides. Students earn 1 out of 4 points for at least 3 slides. Students earn 0 out of 4 points for at less than 3 slides.
This is the first in a series of posts about creating powerful product assignments at the end of a unit of study. Before you can really dive into the product itself you need to figure out what the foundation of the product is by looking to the core of the unit of study. Here are three questions to guide you:
UNDERSTAND: What concepts do you expect your students to know at the end of the unit?
KNOW: What facts do you expect your students to know at the end of the unit?
DO: What skills do you expect your students to be able to demonstrate at the end of the unit?
Edutopia has been a go-to stop for education resources. I think one of my favorite parts is the video archive which lets me view other people’s projects in action to get a better understanding of what it might look like in my own classroom. Seeing a positive example of a success in the classroom will help me be better prepared to design similar curriculum for my own class. Edutopia has great articles and videos on a wide array of topics including but not limited to technology integration in the classroom, differentiated instruction, assessments, cooperative learning, project-based learning, curriculum development, etc. The list goes on and on, certainly worth bit of time to explore.
According to the Buck Institute for Education (BIE), the “gold standard” for PBL project lessons are rigorous, focused on student learning goals of self-management, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Projects utilize standards-based content to answer a question or solve a problem that includes a real-world situation connects to the students’ personal interests, issues, and concerns. Students make choices about the project in how to participate and what they create in authentic tasks and tools through an extended inquiry process to discover resources and use that gained knowledge to produce a product. Both students and teachers reflect on the project (during and after), how effective the learning was, the quality of the work, the obstacles they are faced with and how they will overcome them. Students practice peer review process to provide, accept and apply feedback to develop their products and enhance their process. Finally, students share their project with the people outside of their classroom.
Buck Institute for Education. (2017). What is Project Based Learning (PBL)? Retrieved September 21, 2017, from http://www.bie.org/about/what_pbl
What do I mean by Teaching for Transfer?
One of the jobs every teacher has is to help the students learn that the information they learn in one subject is useful in other subjects and beyond the classroom. Students are basically creating an internal database of information with all they learn in the classroom. For many students, this begins as a rigid storage: math belongs at math time and language arts during language arts. Our job is to teach them for transfer which is how to access knowledge outside of the specific subject in the classroom through cross-curricular activities, simulations, and authentic real-world learning experiences. Teaching students problem-solving and critical thinking skills help to provide students a foundation to apply lessons from within a subject to the entire classroom and perhaps more importantly to beyond the classroom.
This is the final in a series of five posts about online project-based learning (PBL) resources. If you are new to PBL I suggest taking the time to visit Post One and the site recommended there. That site really offers a comprehensive look at PBL. However, if you are familiar PBL, you can certainly start here or with Post Two, Post Three or Post Four.
CIESE is a stellar website that offers lots of resources for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) PBL. The landing page lets you search by subject: Science (Life, Earth, Physical, or Environmental), Technology (Real Time Data, Online Collaboration, Primary Sources, or Robotics), Engineering (Systems, Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, or General), Mathematics
(Numbers & Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, or Data Analysis) and links to other resource archives. If you are looking for a STEM PBL this a great place to check out for premade options and ideas of how to model your own creation.
The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education, & Stevens Institute of Technology. (n.d.). K-12 Curricula. Retrieved September 17, 2017, from http://www.ciese.org/materials/k12/