Having not been involved until this point, I was unaware of the nature of the project we were entering into. Evelyn spent some time explaining to Victoria and I what the project was and what the initial phases of network meetings had achieved and decided. Our aim for the day was to design an assessment task that fit with the 21st century learning model – specifically designed for the National Curriculum and encompassing quality teaching framework and embedding ICT.
I posed the possibility of changing our focus to Ancient China as we had prepared for and taught this unit to Year 7 last year using the new National Curriculum syllabus. This would allow us to critique what didn’t go well last year while adding ICT elements to it without the daunting task of preparing the whole unit from scratch.
We then had a discussion of assessment tasks and the usual summative model. It was decided that the executive at our school were in favour of moving away from this formal exam format and that we should be planning for this now. We decided to focus on the Emperor Qin Shihuangdi and design a task around this and backward map what skills and/or content the students would need embedded into their learning earlier in the unit to accommodate this.
We decided on a rich task that would be a formative assessment for learning in direct opposition to the previous summative model. The task would involve a multi-step process wherein students would be assessed on various skills and products. Once we designed the initial ideas of what we wanted it to look like, Kathleen assisted in suggesting some ICT tools that would facilitate the implementation.
The assessment task would be split across a period of time. In the first lesson, students would be presented with a series of sources on the emperor. students would be in groups to conduct an inquiry into these sources and what they reveal about the emperor. The model for the group work I suggested could follow that presented by Jason Clarke at our Term 2 Staff Development Day. Each group of about 4 consists of someone responsible for imagine, design, evaluate and act to ensure that students had a specific role whilst using each other to assist their questioning of the sources. at the end of the period, students would have recorded, by creating a Popplet, what they had learnt from each source as well as a list of questions they still needed to answer to construct an image of what the emperor was like. Students would then be given time to research and add to their Popplet away from class. The students would submit their Popplet for marking. They would then have access to this in another lesson where they would use it to write a persuasive text about whether this emperor was a positive or negative influence on China. students would then reflect on what they had learnt, which would also be assessed.
To implement the task, students would use Edmodo to access a folder with the sources. They would then import them into Popplet which would allow the teacher to track who was doing what in the group and whether they were pulling their weight. Students would then share the link to their finished popplet through submitting an assignment created in Edmodo. The students would then write their persuasive text in class in word and upload this to edmodo as another assignment. students would then complete a reflection created as a quiz in edmodo.
We then identified what skills students would need to be taught before the task. These were source analysis skills, group work model, how to reflect, how to construct a persuasive text and how to use Edmodo.
We decided we would trial it across 3 year 7 classes while the other classes learnt Ancient CHina using the resources we developed last year. That would help in terms of coordinating access to ICT so that we didn’t have to ensure each of the 220 year 7 students were given equal access to the ICT products needed, especially as at this stage there is only easy access to 1 class set of computers and 1 class set of ipads.
We got as far as identifying that we could use sources on women as a starting point earlier in the unit to teach some of these skills.
It was a productive day and it gives us a clear idea what we’re working towards in terms of backward mapping and preparing a learning program and lesson sequence.