So, I'm writing/editing NBCT portfolio entries today and I need a break from precision writing. These next three weeks are going to fly by and I'm somewhat fearful that I'm not going to finish getting everything together the way in needs to be.
I thought I would tell you about a left side assignment gallery walk I did about a week ago. First of all, you should know that I do Interactive Notebooks with the right side as teacher input and the left side as student output. The thing is, I've just started ISNs this year and I had a hard time giving complete control over to kids for the left side, especially since I didn't know exactly how ISNs would pan out. I love ISNs and I still think it's great that I wrote a list of LSA choices last summer, but I think a few of my assignments are a little too "easy" and that I need to somehow make them more similar in the level of effort required before next year (or at least put some in a category that indicates they're going to earn at most an 80% if they're done as written).
Anyway, I gave complete control over for an LSA on simplifying radical expressions. It was mostly successful because it was their last assignment in that unit, so they had the big picture ideas down.
When students brought their work in, we did a mini gallery walk in which they spent five minutes walking around and reading other students' books. Then I asked students to nominate someone who did work that we should all see. Nominees were invited to the document camera to share. Kids are SO eager to brag on their classmates! What made this valuable was that I wasn't the one initiating the praise; I also hadn't graded the assignments yet, so we saw what the students thought was quality work. They selected the songs (including two versions of Katy Perry's Dark Horse rewritten as rules for simplifying radicals), the colorful pages, the comics, and other creative work. I don't think anyone chose to highlight a page that was a plain problem set.
I feel like when I start doing more LSAs next year that offer choice, I'm going to absolutely build in time to do this at the beginning of the year so that students can see exemplary work.
I only have one picture right now, but I'll get some more. Flashcards were popular choices; this student chose to write questions that we ask ourselves while solving on the flashcards. She wrote answers and explanations on the back. The orange is a pocket meant to hold them.
How do you help students grow?