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RE: making constructivism simple/didaction

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From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon May 20 2002 - 17:22:00 PDT


Esa writes:

> I recently looked at new assessment work that equates
> 'teaching to the test" as "project-based learning with
> rubrics" and "portfolios" as authentic learning
> assessment tools. What an interesting shift in the
> field to redefine these as 'quantitative and
> qualitative tests." Better yet is the "process-folio"
> which describes the students own learning as part of
> portfolio work.

MANY of us have been using alternative assessments and process portfolios
for some time. In fact many of us do it electronically. I have been using
rubrics long before I knew they had a name or they became fashionable. The
problem I find with rubrics is that the intent has been somewhat ignored for
expediency. Rubrics are to be designed with both teacher and student
participation. I see too many generic rubrics, web generated rubrics and
teachers passing rubrics around with no student participation in the
generation. It's a time consuming process to include student input, but one
that is necessary to insure expectations.
Once again I see rubrics being used to fulfill initiative requirements and
designed to meet the teacher expectation that is no different than assigning
an arbitrary number.

Your sculpture project sounds like what we are calling differentiated
instruction. Teaching within the classroom and meeting each child's needs.
None fall behind and none linger waiting for the rest to catch up. It's an
awesome teaching responsibility, if taken seriously.

> None of this project was planned in advance. It went
> step by step, one thing led to the other.
When teachers are required to have daily lesson plans that meet objectives
into administrative offices, often a week ahead of time, it really
discourages this kind of spontaneity. I can do it because I know how to
write an ambiguous objective. I see objectives all over the web in lesson
plans that are activities , not a learning outcome.

> I didn't need to know the theory to
> know that this works and that nothing planned in
> advance could have equalled what we all got out of the
> process.

Ah if only we didn't take ourselves so seriously and reveled in the process
as much as our kids do, maybe then...

Thanks Teresa, for giving a real life example
and I hope we all have ours to tell.
Patty

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