Saturday, July 31, 2010

Another Piece

In previous postings here, and there, I've been putting forth some drafts of simple assessment pieces for a Spoken Word Workshop for 5th Graders. Here's a second assessment piece. This would come somewhere in the middle of a nine-session workshop process. Who knows, if this kind of stuff really works? Please feedback, and be nice about it.


About the Assessment Process

- The TA must assess each student 3 times over the course of the workshop process.

- The first assessment must be done early in the process.

- The second assessment must be done at a midway point in the process.

- The third assessment must be done at the end of the workshop process, before the planned culmination, which is a poetry slam. The poetry slam will be graded. The assessments might be a part of the grade, but they are not themselves graded, if that makes sense.

How to Use this Rubric

This rubric functions as a checklist. It lists the criteria for the second of three formal assessments. The criteria for this formative assessment* piece is transparent. Students know the criteria for success, and they know what to expect. They know what it's going to look like at the end. The criteria are transparent because an assessment is not a test and there is no grade..yet. Our value system says that we empower students so that they can independently achieve the desired outcome. The working theory is that a student who understands what's expected will be more able to carry her understanding into the future. She will be more able to achieve transfer of that understanding and apply it in other areas of her life and learning process. (Someone smart has probably proved this, but I just think it's logical because if you're going to succeed here, then you have to be paying attention. Paying attention is pretty much a guarantee that you're engaged. If you're engaged, you must be having some sort of learning experience, otherwise you wouldn't be paying attention...right?)

Before the TA observes the students, there should be a conversation about the criteria and what's expected. The students and the TA should go over the rubric together. In an ideal situation, students might comment on the rubric and add to it. They might even be asked to add their personal desired outcome to the list.  All desired outcomes must be specific, observable and measureable in a way that makes sense to each individual, or none of this is guaranteed to work.

The TA must set up an activity to observe. For this assessment we will set up something like this:

Students are required to write an original poem of at least 14 lines. "Everyone will write a poem of at least 14 lines by next week. We'll work on it today for about 30 minutes and then you can take it home. By the end of the next session, you must have 14 lines written. Your poem must have the following things in it:

1. It must be 14 lines. "Your poem has to be at least 14 lines. Yes you can write more. No you can't write less. Nothing over 2 minutes, please, thank you."

2. It must meet the criteria on the rubric. "Let's go over that together, and see if we need to make any changes."

3. Students must provide four copies of their poem. "You'll need four copies of the poem, because you'll be working with partner and they'll need a copy. One copy stays in your book. The other copy goes to me. The other one is for when you have to do some revising and editing, and because you might lose one. Double-sided is fine. We love trees."

4. Students are paired with partner. "You will work with a partner and I will assign those right now. Partners are supposed to help each succeed. Help your partner meet the criteria."

5. Each student will perform for the other. "When the first draft of your poem is finished, you will perform your poem aloud for your partner."

6.  Partners are required to use the rubric as a checklist to provide feedback to their partner. Partners must make notes on each other's poems, showing where they heard the criteria being met. If criteria are not met, students must go back and help each other revise their work so that it meets the criteria. "Listen to your partner's poem. Use the rubric as a checklist. Did they meet the criteria? If so, make notes on your copy of their poem to show them where you heard the criteria being met. If not, talk to them and help them make notes on their poem. Help them to revise their poem so that it does meet the criteria. When you're done, switch."

7. Students must add their own personal desired outcome to the rubric. "Ok, what's your personal criteria for success? What do you want to accomplish with this reading? Take some time to articulate that for yourself. When you have it, write it down on a fresh copy of the rubric and hand it back to me. I have copies of the rubric right here."

8.  After all students have assessed each other's work and added their own personal criteria for success, we will have a mini-poetry slam. Each student will be required to perform their poem aloud in front of the class. "OK. We are about to do our performances. Each person has written their poem, and rehearsed it in front of a classmate. Each person has used the rubric to make sure their poem meets the criteria. Now is the performance. I will use the rubric now as a checklist, and I'll give a little feedback to each of you, just as your classmates did. Let's applaud for each person before they perform. Show your love!"

9. As the final step in this piece, the TA will observe each student's performance and use the rubric to provide feedback to the student, and to assess where each student is in the process. If there are gaps in understanding--if criteria are not met--the TA will make a plan to address those gaps in a later workshop.


Criteria #1 RHYME
Does the poet employ rhyme? Yes/No

Does the poet employ at least two of the following common literary devices: alliteration, repetition, onomatopoeia? Yes/No

Does the poet use at least three adjectives, or descriptive words? Yes/No

Criteria #4: METAPHOR or SIMILE
Does the poet use at least three metaphors and/or similes? Yes/No

Criteria #5: POINT OF VIEW
Does the poet express a strong personal point of view, or a strong opinion? Yes/No

Criteria #6: VOLUME & CLARITY
Can the poet be heard and understood by the audience? Yes/No

*Many thanks to Jennifer L. Wolf PhD for pointing me toward the light. This changes everything.

1 comment:

@theatrerachel said...

I applaud you for your efforts to include assessment in the instructional design of the teaching artist! Keep going! Careful: a chcklist isn't a rubric. A rubric specifically refers to the grid that defines for the students how close to mastery they are. You would need to define the each step on the range of mastery for each criteria, from developing skills to proficiency, in order for it to be a proper rubric. Doing so will help students understand the key descriptors that define each stage of their progress. That's your next step! Break a leg! Go, assessment!