Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Still learning!

How can I reach my students and the parents at the end of the process?

As we know learning is messy and assessment is the core of the process that loops backwards and forwards and develops the pedagogy and next steps of learning. Grit is something that you don't teach, students experience grit through rich tasks and giving them time to reflect on their learning skills by focusing on next steps. A reflection becomes an inspiration for learning through sharing and learning from each other. Therefore, reflections are the core of the learning process. It is the looping of the forward and the backward and bridging the learning. My students are asked to reflect on Google calendars and document their challenges and their new learning. I posted about the process last June. Reflection Post

After 4 years of monitoring and learning the reflective process with my students and its effect on their learning process, reflections have changed from a requirement to an inspiration for learning.  Reflections became the perseverance for the next steps in the learning community.

 Teachers in Ontario are responsible for providing grades at two reporting periods. The focus of the assessment is the process based on the overall expectations from the curriculum that the students unpack through many learning tasks. The process becomes a collection of evidence that have been reflected upon by the students with each other and with me, based on the co-constructed criteria and its details (mechanism) that determines the assessment of learning. This takes a long time! As it is not just a coverage it is unpacking the metacognition throughout the process giving time to reflect, to determine learning goals and to apply the feedback as well as allowing autonomy to flourish among the students and adapt to this process.

Documented feedback and applications of feedback are gathered through audios for oral evidence, screen capturing of online learning, written evidence, evidence of thinking through organizers and conversations in class. Learning is seamless with technology by connecting and providing evidence throughout the process. Learning is enjoyable, completed with perseverance based on clear expectations and interactions with the students and the teacher.

Communicating throughout the process is key to learning for the students and tracking the progression, where assessment becomes a community based on purposeful learning. There is always room for learning and improving with the assessment process and the evaluation. By honoring students roles and relationships at individual levels with their learning and building relationship with students to parents and to me, I have invited the parents to the evaluation. Parents and students should be able to comment on the evaluation. Last year's success motivated me to continue and  this year I am incorporating  the co-constructed criteria and audio for commenting on the skills by using keizena.

This post will focus on my own learning of sharing the evaluation with the parents. Students are responsible at home to unpack the steps and the process through the evidence based on the criteria on the eportfolio. I still have so much more to achieve in my learning and I will continue to share. This is how technology has allowed for the evaluation process to become seamless. I took a screen capture of it due to privacy and respect to the students than adding live links.

A picture of a comment from a student about her Social Studies Journey.

I am still learning and this is what is working for me at the moment. I am trying out many tools for documenting feedback. With Hapara the process has been much easier for me to track and for the students to take ownership as well.  I will still use my two days of professional  development to arrange learning fairs with the parents in my classroom. The students and I will be thinking about how it might look like . I will continue to share my learning and would love to hear about your learning too.

I continue to persevere and learn with my students about autonomy, assessment and documenting. I always think about: How am I communicating to the students the evaluation?  How am I and the students communicating about the assessment process and next steps? How am I speaking to the evidence? How students are taking autonomy of their learning and identifying their next steps? How can assessment and evaluation become a community?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Thoughts on perseverance!

This year I wanted to take risks with the students by implementing tinkering and making. We have made the Scribble Bot (Blog) and now the automata by focusing on the learning skills and analyzing students choice of design to represent the main idea of the Grade 5 and 6 Social Studies.

 During the making process students are enthusiastic, persistent, engaged and articulate their creative thinking process. The positive mentality of perseverance and persistence depended on each others learning and thinking of the how and why of the function of the automata mechanics. Students stayed engaged and pursued learning together. Students became resourceful and imaginative in building a learning community valuing each others' thinking outcomes.

By taking risks with the students and developing our learning together, we gather resourceful thinking environments in which failing has a purpose for achieving.

Through many learning tasks students are engaged and motivated. Through the making with materials from scratch and designing, autonomy and ownership seem to prevail and be captured by a culture of cultivation by the students who are the makers, who are being meaningful and challenging their thinking with the making. The progression of thinking skills of self-regulation, problem solving. designing and retrying flow and flourish.

By observing and coaching through feedback, I made time for consolidations and reflections which provoked creative thinking skills that students unpacked allowing life long skills of getting through tough obstacles for creating.

The assessment is very rich since it is the actual process of making and documenting the learning. What counts is being able to analyze, pursue their own designing and naturally share, question and learn from each other. Students were constantly analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating, creating and recreating to achieve the automata function. The process is about the learning: How was the student thriving? Did the student have a sense of meaning in what he/she was doing? What role did they play in sharing? The students were thriving: by wondering, challenging their thinking and reflecting on the co-constructed criteria that explained the automata making process.

My learning thrived as well just as the students, I persevered the challenges of opening the maker education with my students. Like any tasks in class, reading, writing, blogging, Math, we need to give the opportunity for open discussions, inviting peer feedback, reflecting and transforming thinking for students to become resourceful, imaginative and creative.

My Self reflective questions during learning tasks:

How am I inviting the students to take risks?
How am I inviting curiosity?
How am I building a community for persistence and resourceful learning?

Evidence of the process: 

Padlet with the criteria and samples from Tinkering and Makers Ed sites:


Videos of explaining the process using Explain Everything App.

I would like to thank @maker_junior Alison Adnani for always inspiring me, for the Makerspace G+ Community and The Tinkering Studio Team for learning from them too,