21st Century Learning and Assessment Example

Yesterday I wrote a guest blog post for Edutopia on 21st Century Assessment and learning. In order to keep things concise, I only provided a brief example of how to incorporate this type of learning into the classroom. However, today I am going to share my wikispace and show you one of my assignments that I am starting today with the novel The Kite Runner. The assignment covers a variety of skills and objectives and asks students to seek out information, think critically, and answer a question. This question does not have one solution and is open to interpretation. I am asking students to present their findings using any method they see fit. In order to keep track of progress each student will be sharing a Google Doc with me and are required to update their daily progress and provide a summarized brief of tasks, roles, and what they accomplished for the day. I have found this method is essential when using group work forums. Students can easily get lost or skim by in a group, therefore, it is essential to track their progress and have them assess each other.

Here is the assignment. You can also access my wikispace with this assignment and other ways in which I have been using this platform and incorporating various learning tools.

Today’s Focus: The Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan: Symbolism in Chapter 10

1. Go to the Springfield Township Library Search page. Use Google “News Timeline” to research the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Remember, this occupation started on December 24, 1979 and lasted until February 1989.
2. Find some information on the Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan during this span of ten years and answer one of the following questions:

  • How is the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan representative of what is happening in The Kite Runner thus far?
  • What effect does this occupation have on family and traditions in Afghanistan?

3. Organize your information and be prepared to present this to the class. This will be your test grade for chapters 1-10. Your presentation may be done individually or within a group. Everyone must take an active role and each group member must organize their information on a Google Doc and share it with me. The Google Doc must include:

  • Group members names
  • The Question you are covering
  • Links to any information, images, or music that you plan on using. All of this information must be cited properly
  • Tasks you accomplished and everyone’s role in the group (i.e. creating the presentation, organizing information, etc.)
  • A daily brief summarizing what you accomplished for the entire day.

You will be graded on the following criteria:

  • Did you answer your question? When you are doing your research you must always refer back to your question. I’m not looking for a concrete solution, but I’m seeking you to think critically about the subject and follow through with supported opinion and a logically constructed answer.
  • Did you play an active role in the group? What role did you play in your group and did you participate actively and equally with all group members? If you and your group can answer yes to both, then you will receive full credit for this component.
  • Did you present well? Is your presentation method creative and interesting to the class? Did you think “outside the box” and move beyond a powerpoint or create a dynamic powerpoint that serves as a backdrop rather than a slide inundated with bullet points?
  • Knowledge of content? Did you discover the symbolic meaning of this invasion as it is related to Kite Runner? Did you present the material in a way in which you know and understand what you are talking about, rather than letting the powerpoint talk for you (i.e. DON’T KILL US WITH BULLET POINTS!).

NOTE: A special thanks to Joyce Valenza (@joycevalenza) for creating an amazing student research start page at Springfield Township HS Library.