Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sharing Student Work: Meaningful Collaboration

Deeper Learning MOOC Week Two prompted us to think about the ways we use student work to forward student/teacher performance, meaning, and effect. 

Each week, I want to make sure that I create a responsive action to the deeper learning study so that I can bring the learning forward to my students, professional work, and collaboration.

Hence, this week I've proposed two actions. The first is focused on sharing students' open response math problem solving work with a collaborative educator group, and the second involves collaborative student critique and share in the classroom.


Action #1: Collaborative Critique of Student Open Response Math Problem Solving

Choosing a Problem
Prior to the share, the team will choose an open ended response problem to employ in the classroom. We'll have to determine whether we want the problem to be test-related, a more relevant, meaningful problem, or a combination of both.

Planning the Share

First, we'll need to determine our purpose for sharing and critiquing the work. We could choose from any of the following:

1. Evidence of Academic Mindsets
Does the work exemplify students' academic mindsets:
  • I feel like I belong here.
  • I think I can do this
  • This work has value for me.
  • I believe my intelligence can grow with effort.
2. To create a common vision of what we're looking for.
Using student work to create a short list or exemplars of what we consider quality student performance. Choosing characteristics of the work, or exemplars, that we can later use with students to guide their performance.

3. To assess efficacy.
Is the project/task designed well to create a valued effect? Is the work designed in a way that all children are empowered and enabled to create andcomplete beautiful, quality work? Is the work open-ended and able to foster concept development rather than adherence to rules alone.

4. To assess relevancy.
Is the project/task relevant, meaningful, responsive, and open ended?

5. To assess student process, thought, and performance.
How can we collectively look at student work to "see better" and determine the kinds of student effort, process, performance, and presentation involved, and in what ways can we use that information to forward student/teacher complex work and performance.

6. To assess learning design.
Student work reveals the strength and needs of learning design. Discussions related to student work to build a collaborative, design culture.

6. To determine the purpose of the task, education process.
In a small, rural MN town, the learning community studied and discussed student work as evidence of the Town's educational purpose/efforts. Essentially what story does the student work tell about the values, efforts, and direction of a school system.

How will we critique the work. Several models were shared:

1. Share Observations First, then Critique
To broaden the conversation, participants first share what they notice. (I never really understood until watching this MOOC why this was fostered, now that I understand I can see the value.) Answer the question, "What comes up for you?," as you look at the work.

2. Warm/Cool Statements (Also referred to as Stars and Wishes)
Start with positive, appreciative response, then add responses about what we could change, revise.

3. The Charrette Protocol
We discuss the work with a sense that we all are responsible for the work and growth using "we" and "our" statements.


1. Review Purpose, Protocol
2. Share
3. Determine Next Steps, Follow-Up Response/Actions


Action #2: Student-to-Student Critique

1. Use a deep learning, meaningful project. For our class that will be compose a story you want to share with the world.

2. Review Academic Mindsets, Research, and Rationale with Children.

  • I feel like I belong here.
  • I think I can do this
  • This work has value for me.
  • I believe my intelligence can grow with effort
  • Learning to give and take critique helps to foster better work, more effective learning and performance.
  • Helping each other helps everyone do better work.
  • Exemplars of quality, beautiful work gives us a direction to aim towards in our study and work.
  • Examining each other's work helps us to see schools as places for learning and growth, not places for evaluation of who is skilled and who is not.
  • Student work tells a story about the student, teaching, and the educational program's activities, beliefs, and priorities. 
  • Reviewing each other's work helps us to get to know one another as well as exposing us to multiple perspectives, processes, and possibilities.
  • Complex open tasks encourage creativity and develop concept.
  • Caring about each other's work, and taking the time to look at each other's work pushes our own work, creativity, and potential.
  • All good work starts out with struggle and problems.
  • "Fail to Prevail" Establish a culture that embraces and learns from mistakes.
3. Decide with children how we will critique each other's work with the question, "How can we help each other compose wonderful stories?" After listing their ideas, turn their ideas into an action plan.

4. Carry out the action plan as students write and craft stories.

5. Review and retell the effort in a shared story, video, or other creative project.

6. Grow the process with other projects and student endeavor.

Related Links

School Reform Initiative
Crafting Beautiful Work