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Academic Support Blog

Friday, August 18, 2017

D. Lester Reflection on Choice

Posted by Scott Arenal-Mullen in General  |  Comments (3)

I asked Ms. Lester to give a few words about her experience with building choice into a lesson and she provided me with this incredible reflection!

"In 7th grade Social Studies, I designed a project that encompassed choice, citing textual evidence, technology and team building. I've always been into projects because they can combine multiple standards and if designed correctly can provide a true assessment of students' knowledge. Most of all projects illustrate student's practice with various skills as set forth in Georgia's Standards of Excellence. Based on our professional learning with Schlecty, one of my design qualities student had shown interest in was choice. Furthermore, I felt students needed to work on choice since they were not accustomed to it.

 The project I constructed for students is entitled "Standards of Living". The objective of the project is for students to choose any country of their choice.Students will research the criteria as outlined in the assignment and provide a rationale of the country's standard of living based on their findings. Sounds simple, yet some students struggle with using evidence to support their reasoning or not trusting their reasoning and looking for my approval. As a teacher, you want to say," No, what are you doing", but more so I pose questions for them to think about to aid in creating their rationale. One of the major challenges I encountered was technology. I had given students their Gmail information ahead of time (like during the first week of school), so login and using Google was easy, but there was internet lag and needed updates to the Surface Pros. Another factor to consider is time, I sacrificed after work hours to design the assignment, rubric, exemplar, and checklist for students who don't necessarily take the initiative. Now, to the good parts, the successes I've seen are engagement with the work, interest in other countries' standards of living, enthusiasm to show off their creations, and building of teamwork with a partner. Consequently, the preparation and planning can be time-consuming, but the outcomes are well worth it! 
Here is a link to the Standard of Living Project"

Comments on "D. Lester Reflection on Choice"

9/26/2017 9:43:57 AM CST

1. Annissa Roland said...

THANK YOU for sharing your work! Choice seemed to be a meaningful design quality for them to study forgien countries. As a designer you put all of the work up front so that you can focus on successfully leadering those reluctant students during the implementation. You have illustrated the need for the three parts of the teacher's role as the leader, designer and guide to instruction. Even though you built in choice for the students, you have also noted that affirmation, product focus, and affiliation were motives for the students to engage in this unit. Bravo for trying new things! Technology is sometimes frustrating, but it can also enhance the experience greatly. Here's another idea. Have you considered using a green screen app? This would allow the students to put themselves in their country of choice either in a picture or video. Thank you for sharing!!! 

9/26/2017 9:33:34 AM CST

2. Annissa Roland said...

Ms. Lester, 
Thank you for sharing the good and the bad with the newly designed unit. Giving the students the choice of country seemed to be very meaningful to them in their work. Design takes time up front as you correctly stated. Yet you have everything created and thought through before you begin the implementation of the work. This frees you to think about the facilitation of the work more as you did in posing questions to push the student's thinking and learning. I would love to see the student work products! The use of technology struggles happen to us all. Here is another technology idea. Have you considered getting a green screen app and the green background? Then the students could take pictures or make videos of them "in" their country of choice! Thank you for all you do!

8/18/2017 12:42:17 PM CST

3. Cherita S. Williams said...

Excellent! Student engagement is always worth it!

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