While watching the ASCD conference streamed live last week, I was eagerly anticipating Heidi Hayes Jacobs talk about Curriculum 21. I had just finished the innovative book recently and have been telling every edu-type that I know to read it. During the talk, there were some amazing nuggets of advice, awesome quotes like, “Lamination is the mummification of curriculum”, and a challenge to have every teacher replace one dated assignment or assessment with one that is current and highlights 21st century skills.
This past week, Heidi started a new ning for Curriculum 21. Her first post was this:
Upgrading: One Assessment at a Time
Each teacher in a school can make a commitment to REPLACE a dated assessment type with a modern one. For example, instead of doing an “oral report” with notecards, students can create a video podcast. IDEAS?
This immediately caught my interest, so I responded with a story of replacement that happened recently:
I just wanted to share a wonderful experience with a middle school math colleague of mine with “replacement” practices. She came to me and wanted to figure out a way that she could make her mathematician reports that she has done for years more “current”. She wanted the basics of the assignment to be the same, but wanted to use 21st century skills in a meaningful, purposeful way.
I teach the same students that she does, so I know they are highly skilled in using technology, but I didn’t want to overwhelm her. So I taught her how to create a wiki and how to set the parameters for the students. She went and worked on her wiki diligently, and returned for some follow up one or two times.
Within 2 weeks, she had learned to use a wiki, created a wiki, was comfortable enough to use it with students, and had the students successfully complete the project!
Not only did she replace a dated assessment, but she also changed how she grading it by using a rubric. We had another session where I taught her how to use rubistar to create a rubric and roobrix to calculate the grade. In the end, she changed two things about the project, but the content met her original goal from years ago!
Here is the final wiki created by the students. She is so thrilled with the final results that she came to me two days ago to help her plan the next “replacement” assessment! She loved that the students were engaged, interested, and learning in a way that she hasn’t seen before. She also loved that she did this paperlessly!
Hopefully, this “replacement” practice will start to spread with this little seed. Thank you Heidi, for continuing to have the vision.
I would like to continue to support Heidi’s challenge to “replace one“, but I’d also like to add “guide one” to those of us that have the skills and resources to help those who would like to “replace one” but don’t even know where to begin. If we begin to internalize this practice of replacing and guiding, we are creating a community of learners amongst ourselves that will continue to grow exponentially as each “seed” is planted.