Sunday, 12 February 2012

Week Five --More learning, More reflection

     To me, this is a challenging week because PBL, Rubrics and WebQuest were introduced to the course this week. Challenging as it is because this is the first time I went over so many details of these three. While creating my first rubrics, I went back to the Rubric tutorial from time to time trying to be “smart and sharp” because I tried to set up my own dimensions and levels. In the end, I had no choice but to refer to Rubricstar. As a beginner, Rubricstar is a savior!  I made references to the posts of the colleagues to be sure I was on the right track. It’s the same situation as WebQuest. I needed to go back again and again to the instructions to keep myself focused while creating the WebQuest project. I tried to implement my first WebQuest this week hoping to motivate my students more in their learning of the tedious grammar of the usage of comparatives. I included the basketball player Jeremy Lin, Kobe Bryan and will bring in Yao Ming when we come to superlatives in the next unit. My students are to complete filling in information on their worksheet after browsing the given website resources and to talk about these basketball players by making comparisons. There were two main reasons I brought in Jeremy Lin for the students’ WebQuest homework. First, basketball is the love of my students. If they love basketball, then let’s dig deeper into the basketball world with more information gathered and a little more vocabulary increased. Second, Jeremy Lin comes from Taiwan and I would really like my students to think of the definition of “the pride of Taiwan”. Are only those who become “somebody” on the stage of the world entitled to be called the pride of Taiwan (I know they are!)? Or anyone who is devoted to making Taiwan a better place the pride of Taiwan? I am not going to instill my opinion into my students’ mind, but I would like them to think about it. Overall, this is a challenging but fruitful week with PBL, Rubrics and WebQuest unveiled to me. There are two more things that make me reflect more after reading Janines’ comments—first, for the long past years, I didn’t apply anything similar to Rubrics as an assessor. I tried self assessment, peer assessment with no exact criteria, which made all the assessments meaningless and with no help to my students’ improvement in their learning. I had my students do collaborative learning by grouping them but when I assigned them different roles, I deprived them of the chances to potential changes. I am not defending myself for carrying activities this way. The reason I didn’t detect the problem Janines mentioned,” If students have very different roles in the project, I can't assess their work fairly and consistently. How can I compare one students' writing to another student's artwork? This kind of setup makes fair grading almost impossible. “has long lied in the fact that I have never specifically given points or grading through these activities. I have been doing these solely for the purpose of giving encouragement , arousing their motivation to participate and having everyone involved. Now that I am equipped with so much more accessible resources online and knowledge of alternative assessments. It’s time to adjust and change. 

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