Monday, September 5, 2016

DigiLit Sunday and Motivation

Motivation can come in many forms, but in a 5th and 6th grade Gifted ELA class, motivation comes from choice and creative expression! This year I am giving my students more ownership of their learning by modeling a lesson, having them apply the ideas from the lesson, and then having them evaluate their work within a "microprogression" of learning based on DIY Literacy by Kate and Maggie Roberts, which I read this summer. After evaluating examples of work and looking at levels of completion from minimum work to meet requirements to higher levels of completion together, my students then get the chance to go back and add to their work to make it better before turning it in for a grade. Students then use their understanding to create strategy pages in their notebooks that will help them to reach the next level of understanding on future assignments. This is a natural way to help students with something I could never quite get right- individual goal setting. Students are all working on the same strategy, but can vary their goals based on what they need to grow! It really has been working in a way that is meaningful for my students and for me.

Let me give one simple example from this past week. We began our read aloud FIsh in a Tree with our interactive document that contained a link to a google doc where students answered some prereading questions. What I found when quickly looking over initial answers in Google Classroom was that students left out the second part of a multipart question, put little descriptive detail in their work, or did not revise and edit work. We addessed this with this simple microprogression chart I created with my students in class with real student examples from the lesson to show 3 levels of understanding that all met the minimum requirements, but where the highest 2 levels extended their explanation to show deeper thinking. Here is the chart we created where students helped me add example work to one of the 3 levels (no names were mentioned but students knew the examples were all good examples, but at various levels of completion.)

After students helped me level examples of their work and add them to the chart, they went back and added to their own original work. Here is an example of one student's answer before and after our discussion/lesson:

First answer:

After our microprogression creation as a class:
The student added examples to their work that made their work better! This student  might set a personal reading goal to add more descriptive details and examples to their work where another student might set a goal to revise and edit if they see a lot of punctuation and grammatical errors.

The beauty of going digital:

  • Teachers can see the work in Google Classroom, do a formative assessment of who gets the lesson and who needs another lesson. 
  • Teachers can copy and paste examples from students in the class at every level to share .
  • Students can change their answers or add to their answers easily, without having to redo an entire assignment. 
  • Teachers can go back in the revision history to actually see the improvements their students made based on the follow-up lesson looking at microprogressions of work that meets the criteria, but get more complex. 
  • Some students realize they are not even meeting the minimum criteria and need more or teachers realize those students need a small group lesson to help them with understanding. 
  • Students make their understanding clear and see how to revise their own work and grow! 
Each bit of growth can lead to a real difference for each student by the end of the year! Students can also see what goals they want to set for themselves based on where they want to go next! That is motivating, timesaving, and exciting for teachers and students!

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