Saturday, September 20, 2014

Reflective Teacher Day 20: Curating student work....

     I have always tried to get students to share their work with not only me but other students as well. With a class full of 30 students, just the logistics became really difficult and I was a bit frustrated really never knowing quite how to do it. Then little cracks started to appear and I began to find a few ways to change my approach. Then a revolution came and it really helped me to re-think how I approach this problem. But first.....the slow creep of those cracks..
     A few years back the State had a great two year program to include literacy consultants for districts to train teachers using Marzano strategies in their classroom. It was a series of training sessions in house that had teachers learn and then create strategies for their classroom. I got to know the person who was the consultant and she kind of roped me into taking the training sessions. Trust me, it was the best thing I could have done. I have always felt that I did things naturally that fit into the Marzano model, but really never formally thought about it. Through this training I learned and began to implement using groups in a different way for students to not only share but also display their work to each other. I began to dub it Wolski Group Work: you may collaborate together, but everyone in the group had to do the work. So students started to display their work and share in smaller groups. Then I began to get them to share with the rest of the class but always found that students listening were not really paying attention and it was hard to get their input. Slowly a revolution started to happen....
     Due to changes in curriculum for other departments, our revision of our curriculum in Social Studies was delayed a few years to make adjustments for the district. While this was happening, the district got Google accounts for both the students and staff and we were very fortunate enough to get two carts with 30 Chromebooks a piece for our department. I began to mess around with all of the fun stuff on Google Drive a year prior but now since the students had their own account, I could now start to incorporate this into my lessons and daily use. I began to have students not only sharing their work via Google Drive put also having them display it to each other, even if it was on the Chromebook in a one on one fashion. Students could now share their work via the Smartboard too! I have now began to branch out even further by having students share their work with the world.
     One of the ways that I have done this sharing with the world is the 20 Time project. All my classes are now doing this starting this year. Students now generate an essential question based on the content and have to produce, at the end of the semester, a 3-5 minute TED Talk style presentation to teachers and administrators. Not only is this displaying their work, but it is also makes them answer questions about their project too. They even do a "pitch proposal" to a group of admin and teachers at the beginning of the project. Finally, one of my personal goals for this project is for students to connect their project to the outside world. This has gone amazingly well and I cannot wait until they present them this year. More info about that is here on my 20 Time Project Blog

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