Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tracking Understanding

Since this was the second time I was teaching these units as a Grade 1-2 teacher [on a two year cycle], I wanted to change the order in which I taught them. Two school years ago, I taught our current unit, Sharing the planet: An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things, at the end of the year. This time, it is in the beginning.

In my classroom I have a large basket filled with scraps of paper to be used in future projects. This was a great chance to ask my students why I would have a box of paper scraps in my room. After our discussion, I put them to work making their own self portraits using the scraps of paper.

After we were done I had all these self portraits that I was planning on simply displaying. But when I put them up in a row, I noticed I could have them talk to each other. 

This evolved into a way to track student understanding through our unit. I created speech bubbles that are big enough for post-its, and periodically, I ask the question, "What do you know about our unit?"

Each time we talk about it, I put their answers into a unit page in their portfolios so we can see how they grow in their understanding and knowledge.

This might be a good opportunity next unit to develop a rubric about conceptual understanding.

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