Classes are mixed grades 7/8. Predominately low income, Hispanic students. 60% qualify for free lunch program. Block schedule - Mon & Wed, 90 minutes, Fridays, 45 minutes. Diverse academic ability levels.
U1L09 is a fun project for my students. Each step of the activity guide was scored separately. I incorporated collaborative brainstorming on Google Docs. I uploaded the activity guide, peer review and rubric to half of the class on Google Classroom and had those students share the document with their partner. Students also created a document for note taking and shared that with their partner as well. I model the collaborative work by opening student work and changing a color or font, or adding a comment. This allows me to create different groups and students learn to work on-line so that they understand that this same thing can be done from home. I used a Google slide presentation. I really focused on defining the problem well. I added a couple of quotes to the slides to reinforce the importance of spending time focusing in on exactly what the problem is. My students tended to be very vague and general. It took a couple of re-do’s to get better at the process.
My students also had a difficult time with the brainstorming problems. They tended to enter solutions to problems, rather than the problems. (For example: student - create more non-smoking areas - changed to - second-hand smoke in public areas.)
I had my students use Google Draw for their output screen. This added time to the unit project, but I think my students enjoyed this and even the ones who couldn’t draw, could make something look good.
The Peer Review was also on-line. Teams filled in their information and then shared their document with another team. To mark the sections as checked or missing, students deleted the mark that did not apply. They typed their comments in the appropriate boxes. I think that it would be simpler if I have one team member open the shared project and the other have open the Peer Review document. This way they won’t have to click back and forth between the activity guide and the peer review. In thinking this through further, I now believe that the best way is to include the Peer Review and the Rubric in the initial document. This way, all they would need to do is share one document. Also, everything that I need to grade the work would be in one place. Both teams earned points for their input on the Peer Review according to the effort and care reflected in their entries. A response in the free response section such as, “everything” or “nothing” did not receive any points.
In presenting the project, students had a choice of how to present - poster or digital presentation of some sort. I will attach samples when I finish with this.
I want to add that I included the English/Language Arts teachers to give extra credit to those students who did well in writing their descriptive paragraphs. This increased the quality of the work that was submitted.