I have struggled to get my students to write clearly about the “data” consumed by a computing innovation along with other prompts. For this lesson, I chose 5 specific innovations and the students had to choose 1 of the 5. I have learned that if I give them free reign, they will take hours choosing a topic. So I narrowed the choices and chose ones that I did not expect them to use for their Explore PT. (Google Glass/Gas Buddy/GoFundMe/reMarkable/uber app). I wanted to focus more on the research & writing than creativity picking an innovation. After they completed the one-pager, I put them in a group with their peers who chose the same innovation. I made copies of each one-pager and distributed so everyone in the group had copies. I instructed each group to find “best examples” for purpose, data, benefit and graphic. For the next 30 minutes, each group discussed and shared among group members what made a great writing response to each prompt. I made sure that they focused on finding good examples…and not poor responses. I heard students say things like, “I did a bad job writing about data. In fact, I didn’t touch on it at all.” “She came up with a great benefit that I had not thought of.” “He wrote it best with one sentence. Mine was too long and wordy.” Having a variety of hardware and software innovations, also gave us the ability to discuss the challenges of writing specifically about data…and the importance of choosing an innovation that is easier to write about. I have seldom done peer review but I feel that they learned more from reading each other’s responses than if I had graded each using the rubric and simply given a grade. Since the peer review, I am seeing their responses to “data” questions be more accurate and specific. I am sharing this in hopes it might help someone else whose students struggle to write good responses. This is my first year teaching AP CSP…love the curriculum…and am learning along the way with my students.
Thanks for sharing this strategy. I feel that students can often provide more timely and helpful feedback because they can focus on the their small group.
I like your idea of providing a limited selection to choose from. Some students spend all their available time choosing then have no time for doing. Peer reading is also an excellent idea. I know this is commonly done in creative writing classes, but it is often overlooked in Math and CS classes.
This is really helpful to hear @miri.blair, thanks for sharing. I wanted to make sure you knew we have similar activities built into the newly released Explore PT Prep Unit of the course. First we’ve cleaned up some of the scored exemplar Explore PTs from the College Board website so that students can review them and then discuss as a class what makes for a strong submission. We’ve also curated lists of potential innovations and data concerns so that students can begin to differentiate some of the nuances of the task.
I’ll confess I’m doing a quick plug for that unit , but I think the main takeaway here is that we agree that the Explore PT can be difficult to parse and scoped examples paired with class discussion and feedback are effective ways to understand the nuances. Good luck through the rest of your year and thanks for taking the moment to share!