Today at Maple Lane, I taught a lesson on formative assessment to a group of grade 6/7 students from Sarah Beairsto’s class. What was unique about this lesson was that instead of using a pencil, students used the iPad, and specifically the app 30Hands. The students were in the midst of a project on extreme environments and Sarah asked me to do a lesson that allowed the students to do a reflection on the processes used to date for the project. As 30Hands allows students to attach audio recordings to photos, I thought this would be the right tool for the job. I taught the basics of the app to the class, then had the students take photos of the work they completed to date. This included all rough draft notes, any unfinished pages, completed pages, and any other evidence of work that was completed for the project. We then chatted about formative assessment. We brainstormed ideas for sentence starters that could be used in their verbal reflections and wrote these on the whiteboard. After this, we asked the students to record their reflections for each part of the project. In the end, each student had a 4-5 minute video of their photos and of their verbal reflections of the processes used in the project.
This lesson was a hit on many levels. Firstly, it was a collaborative effort between myself and Sarah (the classroom teacher). Secondly, if focussed on the process used in completing the students’ work. Focussing on the process (instead of the product) is so valuable for students, and bringing it to their consciousness is paramount in them understanding the importance of it. Thirdly, the iterative process of students recording their ideas further strengthens the understanding of processes used in thir project.
Will I do this one again? For sure! It has so many positives that I hope to model this lesson to every class I go into. Thanks to Sarah for the great idea and to her students for their thoughtfulness in completing these formative assessments.