Monday, May 27, 2013

In Marking Madness, collaboration is still crucial!

It's that time of the year again - report card writing. Although I like how assessments help shape my lessons, and indicate where my students need further clarification, it is still a painful process for me. I'm constantly asking myself questions and second-guessing myself. Have the students had enough practice with a concept to provide a final assessment? What's the difference between a C+ and B-? Did my assessment tool adequately evaluate the skill or content I was examining? Did I weigh certain assignments enough based on the time it took, the value of it compared to other tasks, etc. etc? The temptation is to hurry up and get it all done, but I'm really glad that I took some time to collaborate with my school's ECEs on the kindergarten assignments that help form my report card comments for the areas to which I contribute.

Our current ICT/library/media inquiry unit is about examining what is funny. Some of the kindergarten expectations I've been aiming at include:

1.2 identify and talk about their own interests and preferences 

1.3 express their thoughts (e.g., on a science discovery, on something they have made) and share experiences (e.g., experiences at home, cultural experiences)

5.2 communicate their ideas verbally and non-verbally about a variety of media materials (e.g., describe their feelings in response to seeing a DVD or a video; dramatize messages from a safety video or poster; paint pictures in response to an advertisement or CD) 

I was a little worried (especially when one teacher hinted that she'd like the final comments by May 7) that I wouldn't have sufficient evidence to properly comment on the students' learning. I consulted with our ECEs - I've mentioned these two dynamite ladies in a previous blog post - and together we came up with ways to use their media books in ways that evaluate understanding of media instead of reading fluency, and we decided on a great procedure for having them articulate how funny a media text is to them (using our funny meters) by providing several concrete examples for them to refer to. This second task involves me dressing up in a ridiculous outfit, so it's been a fun assessment tool. I'll try and post a photo of me in my funny costume  later on. Having these tasks vetted by other professionals increases my confidence in the tools and the process. Thanks Thess and Jenn!

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