Wednesday 27 June 2012

Friday 15 June 2012

Original Songs to Review Content-Socials 8

In this lesson, students were asked to review facts about the medieval unit in the style of a Troubadour (medieval singing entertainer).  Students were given the option to write their own music and lyrics, or use a program called Garage Band to write their own lyrics to a popular song's beat. If students were uncomfortable with any type of musical performance they were given the option of displaying their understanding of the information in another format but all groups chose to incorporate music in some way. Students played guitar, sang, wrote raps and one even played the french horn!

The video posted is of option A.  Very high engagement with the students.  

Here are the words to their song that they made up!!!!
Long ago in the land of France,
There was a man who took a chance,
On a lovely lady that caught his eye,
But she said no, started to cry, didn't know why she said no, but she did.

One day in the land of France,
I saw a serf in his underpants,
He was pulling carrots and tomatoes you see,
To bring to the chef to make a meal for me,
Cuz I'm the king, I'm the king, ohh yeah, I'm the king, yeah I'm the king

Do you wanna be a knight,
Yah I wanna be a knight,
Then you gotta do it right,
If you wanna be knight,
Then you gotta serve me well,
 I won't make your life a hell,
Be loyal always,
In my fields where cows can graze,
Cuz I'm the king, I'm the king, oh yeah I'm the king
Yes I'm the king

One day there was a boy named Greg,
He was very sick cuz he had the plague,
He had a fever and buboes too,
He smelled so bad,
Yes he smelled like poo,
Cuz he had the plague, he had the plague, oh yeah, the deadly plague, the deadly plague

So the doctors and the nurses started healing the sick and wounded,
To protect them from this disease,
 Carried by the rats and the fleas,
To give them hot fluids and they gave them lucky charms,
 Put them in the oven, with mercury where it was warm,
Cuz he had the plague, the deadly plague, oh yeah, the deadly plague, the deadly plague

Do you wanna be a knight,
Yeah I wanna be a knight,
Then you gotta do it right,
If you wanna be a knight,
Then you gotta serve me well,
I won't make your life a hell,
Be loyal always,
In my fields where cows can graze,
Cuz I'm the king.

*This is all true!!!!*

Post courtesy of Lindsay Anderson

Thursday 14 June 2012

Creative Assessments

I am the type of person that does not like a count down.  I find that if I am aware there are 'only' 8 classes left I tend to slide in my focus and energy.  As a result I challenged myself and the students with something new.  With my focus this year on assessment I figured that would be a good starting point.  I took the ideas of student choice, movement, social media, creativity and put them in a blender.  What resulted were tests that challenge and excite the students rather than bore them and strike fear in them. 

Scissors and glue section of the SS 10 test

For my 10s I decided to give them some scissors and glue while writing their test.  Normally I have a multiple choice question which asks them to link a major company to a region.  Here I gave them five and asked them to glue them to the correct region.  In a post test survey of my students they all said the liked this section as it gave them an opportunity to 'move'.  JS: "It gave me a chance take a break during the exam.  I didn't feel like I was writing an exam, rather doing a worksheet."  CS "Having to connect them without the answer in front of me made me think."  These were among my favourite comments.

T-Shirt Question
Another question I used on my Geography 12 and Socials 10 class.  Here I employed choice and creativity.  The idea was to use text and images to create an advertisement which explains two of four resource ethics (12s) or two of three types of unemployment (10s).  Students appreciated the options and the mental challenge. 

Twitter /Facebook Conversation/Play Dialogue 

Another one I used was referencing a cartoon (deforestation) and having two of the earth's four spheres engaged in a dialogue discussing the impacts deforestation has on them.  

Here are few things I learned from this process.  I need to expose students to this type of testing earlier (I did this last minute and didn't quite prepare my students and as a result I spent a fair bit of time clarifying what was asked of them).  While I use non-traditional teaching methods I need to give students an opportunity to practice making slogans or developing a dialogue.  

Another observations was that I loved marking these exams.  I will say it again, I loved marking.  I normally loathe it.  This time I was excited to see how students had responded, what ideas they had created, connections they made etc.  Both tests were marked in a night and I am notorious for taking a number of days to return tests.

From the students perspective they liked the options, appreciated the challenge, believed it was like writing a work sheet and felt relaxed.  All aspects of test taking I value.

Moving forward - I am going to look into using more diverse and non-traditional means to test students.  While it is important to clearly link them to learning outcomes; the students responses to them should be personalized and diverse.