For over a year, social studies teachers at my school have been struggling with a new US History curriculum. Having wrestling the Content/Skills octopod of unsolvable arguments to the ground, we cobbled together an authentic assessment that would drive the main focus of the course, “doing history” rather than “learning history”. We defined the skills of an historian, wrote rubrics for each and built into the curriculum a portfolio in which students would reflect upon their performance throughout the year. It’s hoped that course work will assume a different character when students have to reflect on their own performance, identify what needs improvement and establish a process through which they can improve.
The problem (isn’t there always at least one?), was how to explain this task to them. Asking them to reflect on their work after it’s graded rather than stuffing it into a backback or saving it for June’s ritual burning is hard enough. How are they going to understand what is expected of them if it involves several waves of reflections, rubrics and evidence?
The attempted solution is this video. All it takes is PowerPoint, Snagit, Audacity, Camstasia and a script that you write. Will it work? We’ll see….