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Thursday, 4 May 2017

Assessment Rich Tasks and OTJs

Something I touched on in checkpoint one, was the need to integrate many strands or curriculum areas into one task, in order to accelerate learning and achievement across the curriculum for the students in my class (that happen to be Māori!).  Therefore, I was really happy when our staff meeting centred around rich assessment tasks in which we could do just this.

This was all driven by the fact that OTJs will be expected to be reported on this term formally in written reports to parents and also for tracking purposes.

So as a staff, we needed to ensure we had consistent messages about how these OTJs could be made and what evidence we collect to base these OTJs on.  We talked about the inverted triangle and how we need to critically reflect on the places we gather the data that informs our decisions from.

Here were our staff responses to the question:  Where do you gather your evidence from?



Some of the top suggestions included:  discussions with teacher aides, peer observations, blogs, students' books, interviewing students, anecdotal notes, buddy sharing, self assessment, videos....

In the middle was:  GLOSS, JAM, Running Records (when conducted for behaviours in reading - not just a reading age, ARBs.

Down the bottom was:  PROBE tests, PATs.

As I am finding this maunga of Māori student achievement a little harder to climb than I first thought... It's no news to anyone who may read my blog, that I feel there is work to be done in improving how our system assesses Māori and Pasifika students and sets them up for success.  However, I feel that rich tasks, are a way forward for me that is manageable, engaging, purposeful and doesn't induce anxiety attacks when I am planning in my weekends!

The challenge of it for me is, how do I reflect this thinking in planning in terms of timetables or curriculum coverage or outside people who may be needing to tick lists...  Perhaps I say, just wait and see.  Trust me.

One example of what I think could be considered a 'rich task' would be this example from my class blog:

Today Room 10 created circles with different radius lengths using compasses to create ANZAC poppies.

We found it challenging to construct the circles.  Some found that if you moved the paper around, that made it easier.  Some found the bigger circles were easier to construct than the very small ones.

We had to make poppy flowers that were small, medium and large.

The small poppy had an outer circle with the radius of 5cm and an inner circle of 1cm.  The medium poppy had an outer circle of 7cm and an inner circle of 2cm.  The large poppy had an outer circle radius of 10cm and and inner circle radius of 3cm.

We learnt that poppies are significant symbols of remembrance during ANZAC commemorations as they were the first flowers to bloom on battle grounds, so for us left behind, they can also represent a new start or new growth and that we should try our best to live as our soldiers fought so hard to give us our fresh starts and freedom we enjoy today.

Lest we forget.

Here are some photos of our learning:


And here is our final class wreath, ready for our memorial on Thursday:



It's this kind of thinking and planning that Interestingly...

When reading the students blog posts about this learning process, they were able to tell me about using compasses to create circles as well as ANZAC facts - so for me, this was Art, Inquiry and Maths all in one.  One student even said "A compass is a tool you can use in art..."  Which I was thrilled at as he didn't even notice it was maths.  Which is kind of what I'm going for!  Rich, fun, engaging tasks, that allow me to collect data of what they are capable of - even when they are unaware!  It's a win/win!

My ultimate goal is to get the students in my class to TRUST in school and TRUST in me.  Testing them and telling them they're failing probably won't do that.  But being a little tricky with my lessons might...it's like hiding the vegetables under all the cheese on the pizza ;)

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