Thursday, May 01, 2008

Article Reflections

Creative title, huh? It was taking far to long to come up with a creative title, so I'll just go. I'll start with my thoughts from the article "The Trouble with Rubrics". This article has tied in a lot of ideas from our previous discussions of grades in 21C. The subject of grades seems to be on the fore-front of most of our students in the last 3 weeks of school. I guessing most teachers this time of year are hearing several students ask "what can I do to help my grade?"

I personally have not used rubrics very often in my classroom. When I have used them, I find a template online that I revise and the students are still given a grade on the presentation or report. From my limited experience with rubrics, I feel that students tend to use rubrics to "play the game" of school to get the A, rather than focusing on the quality of their work or the purpose behind the assignment. I will also admit that I tend to spend less time grading the quality of their work because I just go down the rubric like a checklist and grade the students more for having the required component rather than the quality of that component.

I agreed with the part of this article that said "as long as the rubric is only one of several sources, as long as it doesn't drive the instruction, it could conceivably play a constructive role." As the article later said, our students are not the same, they do not learn in the same way and they should not be assessed in the same exact way every time. I feel that it is important to assess the students in a variety of ways, which will hopefully shift their focus from their grade or score to what they are doing and learning.

Minds on Fire:
I really liked the article "Minds on Fire"; I thought it was interesting and frightening all at the same time. Not only are we trying to prepare our students for careers that do not exist yet, we as educators, are also needed to gain "new knowledge and skills on a continuous basis."
I feel as if our students are starting to grasp the benefit of social learning, whether it is in small groups within the classroom walls or participating in blogs, wikis, etc.
One of our goals of 21C is to promote and model life-long learning, which is exactly what Learning 2.0 is defined as. We want our students to constantly search for more, just as we constantly search for more knowledge and better ways to present the information.

Do Schools Kill Creativity?
I enjoyed this man's humor throughout the video and thought it was interesting. I liked the comment about kids that will take a chance at young ages because they are not scared to be wrong. If they feel like they might be wrong, they are usually not creative and will not take a chance.
I try to accommodate the different learning styles in my classroom as best I can. When students are given time to work in class, I will turn on music, or let them listen to their ipods or MP3 players. I also try to incorporate activities where the kids are moving around the room and working in small groups. This has gotten harder over the years because my classes have gone from around 23 students to 36 students. My students and I all make accommodations, so that we can still do these activities.

Overall, I think all of the articles and video were very though provoking. I feel like I am working to implement these ideas in my classroom, but it will take time to improve and see what works best for my students.

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