Block wanted seniors to have more than freedom within a set of constraints (the usual SLA teaching style) — he wanted them to try designing their own learning. Students had complete freedom to pursue topics they were passionate about, but they also had to motivate themselves without the firm deadlines and rubrics that had become standard to them.
The first quarter of this one-semester class looked more like a “traditional” SLA class. Students read the same book, chose themes within the reading that mattered to them and wrote thesis papers. But in the second quarter, Block told his students they could work on whatever they wanted, including making radio pieces, planning and teaching a middle school lesson, writing papers or anything else. And they could pursue any area of interest that they were passionate about, as long as they kept making progress toward agreed-upon goals. Because everyone was working on different projects and at different paces, the main way students knew they were on task was through weekly meetings about their productivity, which resulted in a “productivity grade.”
“A real challenge is how to figure out the gradebook for something like this because suddenly I’m not putting in the same grade for everyone,” Block said. He admitted it took effort to let go of the idea that he’d be entering the same number of points for each student.
The foray into self-designed learning was an experiment for both Block and his students, but it yielded some helpful results and feedback from students.
“The freedom. of course, in theory is good, and it forces us to be adults about the work that we’re doing. But on the other hand it would have been nice to have had a little more structure and not be so free-floaty,” said student Anna Sugrue.
A tool designed specifically for Standards-Based Grading
"Discussion and Thinking Zone – Learners can drop in whenever they wish to talk about their learning, find solutions, help each other and just to think and chill out. It’s also still the area where my class gathers for a whole group focus or an additional Creation/Show Off zone.
Discovery Zone – There are 2 of these although one is missed off the top of the image. These contain laptops, pc’s and other technology that the learners can use to guide them on their learning, discover answers, investigate and solve problems, collaborate on projects and create presentations.
Show Off Zone – This is where the learners focus on discoveries they have made and demonstrate their understanding through writing, presentation, art work, display whatever medium they wish to present their work.
Repeat Level – This has evolved from my use of Gamification of learning and an approach that my class enjoy. Whenever any learner requires help, advice, explanations and is ‘stuck’ this is the area they come to repeat the learning so they can move to the next level.
Creation Zone – Creating content for use in their learning, creating presentations to demonstrate learning, blogging, refining, editing. It happens here and it’s usually very busy."
Just add ss in front of the youtube in the url.
We must return teachers to the front and centre of the innovation process. New @theRSAorg report: https://t.co/Qe6mkJQhbc #teacherpower
Very excited to listen to keynote speaker Sugata Mitra @Sugatam at AIS Chennai today at the NESA MS Conference. https://t.co/ccnbP6pCKM