In a way, this experience did prepare me for the future, as I now have a deeper understanding of the people of Canada.
-Grade 11 student
In the fall of 2016, Wab Kinew wrote a Facebook post inviting educators to partner “mainstream” classes with First Nation schools/classes to discuss “What does reconciliation look like?”. Jaclyn Calder and I joined forces (along with Shannon Simpson and Caroline Black) to design a project that offered students an opportunity to think deeply about the relationship between Natives and non-Natives in Canada, generally, and their understanding of reconciliation, specifically. You can view the project at #CraftReconciliation with SCDSB, Wikwemikong, and Rama First Nations.
Here I am summarizing and reflecting on the project. There are five posts in the first part of the series organized around the Ontario Adolescent Literacy Guide‘s five components:
I have also organized the posts in a way that I hope makes visible the teaching – learning process so that other teachers can ‘see’ the learning that emerged from this project. To meet this goal I have attempted to include the tools that were created for this project and to show them in action. I am still learning how to display docs in the best way for this platform. If you have ideas for me, please take a minute to leave them in the comment box below.
You will also notice that I am asking the students to “Self-Assess using this rubric” and “Determine a mark and add it to the bottom of the rubric”. Not connected to the #craftreconciliation project, but connected to my own evolving work in assessment and evaluation, I decided to have the students self-assess this semester. While this is not a grade-less class, as I do need to put a mark on a report card, students need to engage in the process of reviewing their work, submit it to me for feedback via a digital Assignment Submission form, revise it accordingly, and then assess it using the established criteria. Sometimes the criteria are organized into a rubric, and sometimes it is a Met Not Yet Met Checklist. They can choose to repeat this process as often as they wish, but once it is “their final answer” they post it somewhere…Sesame, Goodreads, Hightail, D2L, their blog…depending on what the item is.
Assessment and Evaluation
Assessment: Feedback First.
During an inquiry process, it is crucial to have built-in times for checking in with students. Part of the learning we do is together (hangouts, small group discussions, collaborations), and part of it is an individual endeavour. Both arrangements can run into obstacles, and it’s my job to help keep everyone on track.
Most of the check-in times see me sitting with the students and having short, intentional conversations about their work. I have my laptop with me and I track these conversations in a Google sheet. Other times, I will leave text or voice comments on the students’ digital documents, and of course, I will comment in their notebooks and respond to emails.
There are times, however, that I want to give students individual feedback that is specific to their work, and I want them to take stock of where they are. I didn’t include this tool in the Metacognition post but the Success Criteria Met Not Yet Met Feedback tool (if used well) is a metacognitive strategy. I leave digital comments after the student has completed the checklist.
Evaluation: Where is the evidence of your learning?
The #craftreconciliation inquiry project ran the entire semester divided essentially into three main strands:
- The Build
- The Research
- The Literature: Starting Over
The build and the parts of the research process were assessed together with one rubric that I designed before the project started. Backwards planning is key to the success of any course design, but this course was going to be designed as we went. There were so many factors at play:
- Group dynamics
- Group deadlines
- Combined classwork (Ms. Black and I combined our ENG3E/4E and ENG3C/4C classes for many learning events
- Combined literature circles across our classes
- Student choice
and on and on. I knew that by having the over-arching rubric done and at the ready, we could keep pulling the course back to where it needed to be.
What I have done below is to provide thumbnails of the rubric and a link to the actual document. Below that are a series of screenshots of a student completed rubric.
See the rubric here.
I can’t link you to the actual student rubric since it is full of hyperlinks to documents set in edit mode (at my request). I’ve kept the images large enough so that you can read them. I don’t think you need to see all of the student work. This exercise is not one of moderation, but rather a chance to see the tools in action.
Student completed rubric.
Finally, this evaluation was part of a whole course Evidence of Learning document that the students completed in order to determine their mark for the 70% portion of their grade (I held onto the 30% this year since we are all new to this process. Everyone -you know who I mean-felt better with this arrangement.)
I do need to write about the self-assessment process (separate from #craft because I did it in all of my classes), but suffice it to say here that I will continue with self-assessment next semester. Students told me repeatedly that for the first time in their academic careers, they understood what they were learning and how that connected to their marks. Comments like this were not uncommon:
After speaking with Ms. Balen about the mark I gave myself on this document, we came to an agreement that in self grading my mark I didn’t give myself enough credit for the work I’ve done.
If you have questions about #craftreconciliation or if there are parts of this post that need clarification, please use the comment box to connect with me.
Up next: The Climbing