Monday, October 12, 2015

Trying Some New Things

Since meeting with my department to hash out some overarching learning goals (OLGs - which are described in this entry) for Gr 10 science I have been able to start working on something else - true student self-evaluation and reflection.

The first piece we could do overall without the OLGs (but it may be less effective without them). I have created class OneNote files so that there is one file that has all of my students in it, but do not have to worry about other students in the class looking at each others reflections. And no more paper! Hooray!

Students have three tabs in the file. The first is an ePortfolio where I am asking them to take snapshots of their learning and evidence of learning so that they can track their progress. That is the hope, anyway. Basically I got this under way last week and it took a bunch of time away from other things, but I am hoping that now that they are familiar with it they will be able to do this more effectively and with less guidance. Students can create pages within this tab and have been told they can choose how they want to organize their portfolio. For example, my Gr 10s were asked to take a photo of their formative quiz, something they were proud of, as well as at least parts of their test (minimum of one part of the test they were proud of/improved on and one part they wanted to improve on). They also had to include a photo of their self-evaluation (described below). I am hoping that this can help them see their own improvement and give me a place to go to check details when writing reports or talking to parents. I could even open the file to show a parent if needed.

The second tab is for reflection. Students have a page with their SMART goal from the start of the semester and now have a page where they did a reflection on their learning skills for the progress report. I referenced this when doing their progress report cards, taking their evaluations of themselves into consideration. This can also allow for some conversation with individual students if needed who may not be self-evaluating as accurately as I would like so we can find misconceptions about what the learning skills mean. The third tab is for notes, and students can choose to use this as a place to store notes if they would like to.

The next big thing I am trying is to use the OLGs explicitly in class. The Gr 10 OLGs are written (permanently) on the board at the front of the room and have been posted on our class site for easy access. I am trying to make reference to them in various classes in conjunction with a specific learning goal to help give the class direction and meaning. I will also reference specific ones for every project or evaluation we do so that the students know what the appropriate big ideas are.

After the first chemistry test I was inspired to create the students a checklist relating back to the OLGs and specific learning goals. When I returned they marked test to them they were given this checklist (as a met/not yet met list) and they had to use my comments, etc to help them evaluate themselves to identify what they should continue to work on. This forced students who would usually just look at the mark, or who might even recycle their work without giving it much thought, a reason to actually look at it carefully and start to self-regulate.

What I hope to do with this for future evaluations is to give them the checklist BEFORE the evaluation to do in pencil and hand in, and then I will return it to them after to go through the same process so that we can hopefully identify areas to work on more effectively. If nothing else I am hoping it will help some students put some focus into their studying, as many students do not spend study time wisely.

Would love to hear about other ideas you are trying out there with OLGs, learning goals, and self-evaluation!

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