Students were familiar with analyzing a story using a story mountain, including: setting and characters, conflict or problem, the rising action, the climax or turning point, the falling action and the resolution or solution. After working with this article at a faculty meeting, Mrs. Hillman decided to have the students develop the rubric for the keynote project. She worked with her students on identifying key characteristics and understandings of each story element and what would be needed for each rubric score. The students were aware of what they needed to do for a quality score in each rubric category.
Each child took a different element. After reviewing other rubric samples, they created a four-point rubric for their element. Mrs. Hillman modeled how to do this with the exposition (characters and setting). Students got to work on their element, thinking about key understandings of their element. After completing their own element, students met as a group to share and discuss. This would be a group effort so they all had a say in the qualities of each element. Even though each student only had one element of the story mountain to develop in their portion of the report, they were very involved since it was a group activity. There was a lot of discussion since they were developing parts of something bigger that they were going to be putting together. With teacher guidance, they edited and revised the rubric.
Each child created their portion of the keynote presentation for their element. Their project was edited, revised, and reworked until students were satisfied with it. They referred to the rubric they created as they revised. This made it easier for the students since they had control of what they needed to include for each element. Once they felt it was complete, they emailed it to Mrs. Hillman. She combined all the elements into one presentation. Once all the elements were compiled into the group project, students were able to watch and share the presentation with the principal. Each student presented the element they had worked on in the rubric.
When the keynote presentation was complete, Mrs. Hillman projected the student created rubric using Apple TV; students also had a rubric in front of them to look at. The students graded the keynote project based on their rubric criteria. They analyzed each element and compared it to the rubric language. They provided feedback to each other, continuing to using the language of the rubric. The students loved this approach as they were personally invested in the rubric creation. All the students agreed that this project was easier to do well on than others were since they wrote the rubric and knew what they needed to do to get a certain score. They felt like they were set up for success. They liked to have the control over how they were graded and even wanted to eliminate the “one” score since they were not going to get that! When asked if they wanted to try this again for another project, they said definitely.
By: Gina Palermo, CA BOCES Professional Development and Cuba-Rushford Curriculum Coordinator
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