Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New trails blazed

I am attempting to multi-task, something that my generation did not grow up with and so are not quite as good at doing -- so while I wait for teachers to come to the Chat room, I think I'll "think through my fingers" about class today.

Maybe I was an idiot to try to actually teach class today, after the big game with Florida State and the horrible second half, but I plowed on and actually had an epiphany of sorts. One of the topics I really want to introduce to the undergraduates is that of creating criteria. In years past, I've always created the criteria for the Literacy Autobiography with them and that has worked well. But this semester, I dropped that assignment and all the other assignments have rubrics pretty much set in stone because they are tied to the conceptual framework. So, what to do? In the math section, one of the groups preparing to present their strategy from the article we read for class is focused on using Projects with math students to help them learn the math. Here is the entry into creating criteria: we will begin by thinking about criteria for their Project. Likewise, we can brainstorm in the science group about alternative assessments and create criteria for one as a group.

Actually, without meaning to do it, I've stumbled onto a very good 1-2 punch: the articles we read about language and science/math lead nicely into assessment. And all this reminds me that one way to help students connect to something of importance to them is to have them compare the "what makes good assessment" to how assessment is handled in their own classes.

Now, I just need to figure out how I'm going to handle providing them with the additional assessment strategies over and above what's in the text. We probably won't get to any of that on Thursday, because we are going to meet first to hear about the Italy Maymester opportunity.

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