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Build Interactive Rubrics in Record Time!

Rubrics Made Easy

Why don’t teachers like to make rubrics? Because it’s difficult and time consuming. But that all changes with this tool!

Wow! I am pumped! I just returned from the Google Summit in Lethbridge and couldn’t be more excited about the multitude of new tools available with Google for Education.  At the summit I presented a  session highlighting new way to use Google sheets to lighten your work load when it comes to making rubrics for any classroom activity! Intrigued? Read on!

In my role as Assessment Coach for our school division, it’s my job to help teachers implement best practices when it comes to assessment.  To this end I’ve been using doing a lot of research and having great conversations with teachers about how to involve kids in their own assessment.  Can our students be involved in the process of collecting, organizing and presenting their evidence of learning. Better yet, can they be responsible for it?  Yes. Yes. YES!

How? First of all we have to let them know what their learning goals are. This is where outcome or standards based assessment shines. When we share with our students the targets we want them to hit it gives them confidence to streamline their efforts toward those goals. Clearly identifying those goals and communicating them to your students is the first step to success.

One way to accomplish such a lofty goal is to break open the rubrics! (And yes, it is just one of our goals, but an important one.) Well built rubrics use specific language that allow students to see clearly defined expectations of work quality and depth of understanding.  Rubrics are useful, however, not as an after thought for marking student work. Instead rubrics must be used at the beginning of the learning process as a means to involve the students in identifying their learning goals and being invested in the assessment process.  When used in this way, rubrics provide the road map for learning success.

The challenge?  Designing well built rubrics is downright difficult!  Time and time again, teachers express to me  how difficult  it is to come up with the right wording for their rubric. It’s a time consuming process that must be repeated and tailored to each new activity, project, unit or lesson. My question is… why keep re-inventing the wheel?  What if we could have a bank of rubric descriptors that we could use for a variety of different purposes. What if we could use that descriptor bank in a myriad of combinations to populate and make a custom rubric for each unit or all the performance based activities within a unit.  Yes… what if?  That was my thinking when I decided to make interactive rubrics.

These rubrics are: (use slides)

Interested? Here’s how the interactive rubrics work. Watch this:

Can you see the possibilities? Could this same process be applied to make other useful tools for assessment in the classroom?  Absolutely!

The response from teachers throughout our school division—to this time-saving tool— has been phenomenal. They love it! It’s so good that we can’t keep it to ourselves.  I’ want to pass these helpful tools on to my subscribers.  If you are interested then subscribe here  to my newsletter and I’ll send you a very special access to a pre-built science rubrics for any grade 1 – 9 ( Disclaimer: They are built for the Alberta Curriculum, but I suspect that with some minor tweaking in the wording they can fit your curriculum, too. They are totally editable but not edible.) You’ll also get access to a prebuilt blank rubric, and step by step video instructions on how to use them to make your own interactive rubrics for any subject.

As always, those who sign up will find these language posters included.  

It’s my goal to empower all of you with the tools you need to make it easy to implement best practice assessment in the classroom. I’m here to help anytime. Just email me at sharon@questteaching.com 

Best,

Sharon

P.S. I’d love to hear how you use these rubrics in your classroom. Respond in the comments below or drop me a line!

 

Set Up a Happy New Year in the Classroom

Involve Your Students in Creating A Happy New Year  in the Classroom

As we head back to school after the Christmas break, it is important to set our students up for success in 2017 and truly create “A Happy New Year” in our classroom. To do so our kiddos will need some reminders about the citizenship qualities and behaviors that help make the class a safe place for learning. We know this as teachers, but the question is, how do we make the message stick?
How about getting the kids involved in the process?  One way would be to show this example of a multi-media presentation that reminds students of those qualities. Still, just watching may not be enough. But could we use this presentation as an engaging starter to having the kids get really involved in their own plan? How about using this presentation as an example, and then having them work Ho.
Let your students decide which behaviors they see has worthy of highlighting in their presentation and give them clear criteria that they will have to back up their choices. The result? You’ll most likely see a real difference in your classroom as your students internalize the “reasons for the rules”. Doing this presentation to “teach” younger students or for younger grades would provide even more incentive and purpose to the project.
Here’s how I would set up the lesson:
  1. Get them excited that they are going to start the year off by creating an engaging multi-media presentation that will help teach other students about the citizenship qualities and behaviors that will help make the classroom/school a safe and caring place for all.
  2. Show them the example presentation, “How to Be a Great Student
  3. Brainstorm with the class a list of possible slides/topics that could be included
  4. Share with your students the criteria of what you are looking for in their presentations (how they will be evaluated – see attached rubric for an idea)
  5. Break students into small groups – assign roles within the groups if needed, and have them get started on their story mapping out their slides on paper first.
  6. Then go to the computer lab, or arrange for small group computer/chromebook access within the classroom to put their slides together.
  7. Set a time line and schedule a day for the presentations. Also, ask permission for your students to be able to share their presentations with the other classes for whom the presentations were made.
Let’s this multi-media presentation to help them create a Happy New Year in the classroom and you might be a winner, too! Click on the link below to grab the presentation and find out more.
Two lucky winners will be selected. Sign up now for How to be a Great Student presentation. It is never too late to be a great student.
Lesson Plan by Sharon Skretting
If you are interested in more teaching freebies and lesson plans then join my newsletter by signing up!



“Find the Similes and Metaphors” Game

3pic_touchup-2Secrets from CurricuLaughs in Language Arts
“Find the Similes and Metaphors” Game

 

A spoonful of sugar not only helps the medicine go down; it makes the medicine more effective—at least that’s what I’ve seen in education and I’m sure you have, as well.

When I once announced to 4th graders that we were going to work on similes and metaphors, they frowned, grumbled, fidgeted, and shut down. That’s why I now announce the lesson this way: “It’s time to play a game!”

All I did was reposition what we would be doing and I get cheers! Okay, it is fair to say that when I tell them that the name of the game is “Find the Similes and Metaphors,” some of the more astute students’ smiles diminish, but it is TOO LATE—they have already moved themselves into “FUN position”.

“…The ironic thing was that they got a lesson like they would get in their classroom but they saw it as pure fun…”
Dr. Dael Angelico-Hart Linden School Principal Malden, Massachusetts

So what is the “Find Similes and Metaphors” game?
It’s a quiz!

It is nothing more than a quiz with a small but important twist: the quiz is done orally by volunteers and the student volunteers become the teachers. I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to see the flow of illuminating light bulbs (to mix metaphors) in this simple exercise. (The mixed-metaphor game is ANOTHER really fun and effective game for the kids so please feel free to e-mail me for that.)

I project a list of lines taken from poems that I shared with the students during their wild and crazy assembly. In each of the lines is a simile or metaphor. They had seen me dressed as Sherlock Poems, Poetry Detective, reading one of them. They may have seen me juggling or falling on the floor as I shared another. Now, though, they are just seeing the lines with no entertainment, other than the challenge of beating the “game”.

The rules to the game are simple:
1. Tell me which part of the line is the simile or metaphor part
2. Tell me whether it is a simile or metaphor, and
3. Tell me WHY it is one and not the other.

A different student is chosen to do this for the each line. The best thing that can happen in this game is an incorrect answer. At that point, another student helps them to see the presence (or lack) of “as” or “like” in the simile or metaphor part of the line.

It is a very simple but EXTREMELY effective way to get the point across because a) they are being put in the position of having fun, and b) they learn from each other, rather than from me.

Please e-mail me if you would like information on more games or my school visit programs and please come hear me speak at the Reading for the Love of It conference in February.

Thank you for reading and please keep adding fun to your classroom.

jeffnathanJeff Nathan,

2015 Ben Franklin Award Winning Author, Jeff Nathan
                  www.IncredibleAssemblies.com