The first thing I highlighted in Dylan Wiliam’s third chapter in Embedded Formative Assessment (2011) is that “not all students have the same idea as their teachers about what they are meant to be doing in the classroom” (p. 52). This resonated with me in that I have long been working on ways to engage my learners in the process of identifying excellence. This year I was prompted to act on Wiliam’s suggestions about learning intentions. He notes that though some students may be able to identify what excellence looks like, others do not and “ensuring that all students know what quality work looks like has a profound impact on achievement gaps” (p.55). With that inspiring statement in my mind, I embarked on tweaking the way I teach my students about what excellence looks like.
With my trusty new short-throw Interactive LCD Projector, my not-so new tablet and my trusty iPhone4 scanning app, I was able to create an interactive way for my learners to view excellence and follow me in my assessment processes. I scanned their writing with my iPhone, creating PDF’s, uploaded them to be displayed on the projector and marked it together with them using my tablet pen. We read several projected compositions together aloud. I asked them at the end of reading each work, to tell me how they would rank the piece of writing. They were quite capable of agreeing upon and identifying correctly the appropriate scale for each of the compositions employing the scale given. Then, after their initial assessment, before their very eyes, I marked up the compositions displayed on the projector as our discussion progressed regarding what elements each composition had that contributed to its ranking.
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