Friday, March 27, 2015

Steps to Success

Over the past couple of weeks I have been trying to develop an chart that will enable students to identify where they are and what they need to do to achieve a higher standard. To begin my inquiry I have focused on writing and specifically punctuation. Before getting to my final chart I went through a number of steps to ensure that they would be accurate and also work well digitally on student blogs.

Chart 1: I inserted progressions into spreadsheets but these were too broad to be effective.

Chart 2: I took on specific writing progression and using SOLO made a chart which students could identify themselves on and see their next step. The downfall with this chart was when embedding a Google Spreadsheet into a blog the size adjustments are not very smooth and it is too difficult for students to do it themselves.

Chart 3: Using the same information as the previous chart I make this chart in Google Presentations. This worked much better because the process of embedding a presentation into a blog is easier and students can easily adjust the size to fit the layout of their blog nicely. The bonus of this chart being embedded into the blog means that student can add links to pieces of writing as evidence and they don't need to update their blog because it updates automatically. Also another bonus is that these links work when embedded on their blog so any viewer of their blog to click on and see their writing evidence. 

Chart 4: After presenting this chart and working through it with a number of students I quickly discovered that I needed to make each step very clear and give more detail. For example I needed to state how many sentences a couple is. So my final process has been to amend each steps and this is the final chart of which I am using with my students at this stage. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Going SOLO

How can students being aware of what they are learning and what they need to learn to accelerate cognitive engagement? 

Over the past few weeks I have put much thought into how I could physically carry this out. Initially my plan was to use progressions with each student to identify what level they are working at. Then to make these progressions visible to the students so that they can see what is expected at the next level. But, I have faced a number of problems with this initial plan. Firstly our school progressions are very broad and are not worded in such a way for students to understand and identify achievement clearly. Secondly because the progressions are per year, the progress of a student is going to be very minimal. Therefore, such a goal could potentially be too hard and take too long to give students any sense of achievement and motivation. So this has left me with the need to have small achievable learning steps for each specific learning intention/WALT. 

The new direction which I have now taken to try satisfy this need is to use SOLO Taxonomy. In a recent meeting as a whole staff we explored SOLO and how it provides a model of understanding with several steps. From previous experience I value how SOLO breaks down learning intentions to give the learner explicit steps of their understanding. Therefore students are able to answer these three questions. What am I learning? How is my learning going? What do I need to learn next? 

As a result of this new direction with SOLO my original goals are the same but instead of using progressions directly I will break down each progression with SOLO to create achievable and visible learning steps.