Monday, March 26, 2007

Missed One Found Another

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We had a blast!

We brought along another family of five. Our baby was in the trekker and I didn't wear boots ... a big mistake in wet, melting snow, overcast weather.

The first cache was a multicache (we had the coordinates to the first clue which was supposed to point to a second clue which then points to the final cache). We found it pretty quickly but I forgot how to decode the second line of the message: B 349 T

I later learned it meant "bearing 349° from true north." We missed it by 5 meters! We're going back tomorrow. ;-)

The second cache we also found fairly quickly but it was a micro cache and we didn't know that we were holding it! I looked it up online and ran back to open it and log our visit. The clue that set me off was the description of the cache as something a "muggle" would overlook but to a geocacher it would stand out ... made me think of a "portkey". We logged the visit in the log book and online. The cache owner emailed me within a half hour with congratulations and to welcome us to the sport of geocaching.

This was so much fun I can't wait to go again. If we can we'll squeeze in a hunt this afternoon but if not we're going again tomorrow.

This has given me some great ideas for next year's Mystery Coin Hunt. ;-)

I also have a new podcast to listen too. If you geocache you may be interested in podcacher.com.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

We're Going Geocaching

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Spring break has sprung and we just got an eTrex Legend GPSr ... we're going geocaching. If there are any geocachers out there who can answer a few questions for me I'd really appreciate it ...

I have a mac iBook G4. The attachment to connect to the computer that the GPSr came with has an "old school" 9 pin cord. Where can I find a cheap adapter? Also, do I need any special software to download waypoints from geocaching.com? And while we're on the subject, how do you download waypoints directly into the GPSr; I've been doing it manually.

If you have any tips for a new geocaching family with three kids (10 yrs, 6 yrs and 8 months) I'd be much oblidged. We're planning on our first hunt tomorrow. ;-)



Friday, March 23, 2007

Developing Expert Voices ... The Assignment

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Ed. Note
I've published this post several times. Sorry about that. It's been written over a week and I seem to keep stumbling over the words. I've been editing it not to remove content but to remove the repetitive bits.

"It's about getting a kid's voice out there and giving them an audience. If you write an essay and I'm the only one reading it, nothing grows from that. Over time the ideas die."

The last four weeks have been crazy busy. I haven't blogged and have accumulated a backlog of unanswered email which I've been catching up on over this past week. I haven't been blogging here but I have been blogging on my class sites (here, here and here and the podcast.).

Among the many things that have occupied my time has been this year's Third Annual Mystery Coin Hunt. I stayed late at work last Thursday and finished assembling all the clues for the hunt. The coin hunt is one of the ways that we celebrate π Day. (We also eat a lot of pie and tell dumb math jokes. ;-)) The hunt usually begins on March 14. This year the hunt began on March 20. I'll write more about it in a future post. ;-)

I've also been working on the Developing Expert Voices assignment that I've been writing about here. I've finally written out the assignment in concrete form. I suspect it's transferable to other domains (see below).

It has moved away from my original idea of connecting individual kids across classes and grade levels and evolved into something where students have choice over every aspect of the assignment ... except whether or not to do it. ;-) (Although I guess they could choose not to do it ... one or two of them, unfortunately, just may do that.) I have set an absolute latest due date (May 31) and advised the students that they should not be choosing that date. I created a Google Calendar for each class. Each student has chosen their own due date and it has been added to the class calendar. Using the Google Calendar Viewer Gadget (one of many Google Gadgets) I have added the calendar for each class to the sidebars of their blogs. (In one class, we also whimsically added upcoming birthdays to the calendar as well. ;-))

About ten days ago I created a new Google Doc for the students in all my classes to collaborate on building the assessment rubric for the project, much like I did with their flickr assignments. I also invited my three blog mentors (Lani, Emina and Roland) to participate as well. [Roland just joined the team of mentors working with my classes. We're lucky to have him. Roland actually "met" one of my classes in a spontaneous skype call we did. It was captured in the class podcast here at 25 min 25 sec.] In total there were about 60 people invited to work on this document. (We have about a 10% participation rate; which, it turns out, is not great but "good enough.") The mentors role is similar to what it is on the blogs: asking pointed questions, making helpful suggestions and clarifying and/or summarizing the students thinking. The students started working on the rubric on last Friday and had until today (March 23) at 9:00 am to finish their collaboration. I've collated all their suggestions, assembled the final document and published it here and on all the class blogs.

There is still a possibility that some of my students will collaborate with another class but those conversations are ongoing and nothing has been finalized yet. There is also a possibility that some students will outsource the online publication of their work to students in another class, but that too is still in the works.

There are several pedagogical goals attached to this assignment. Here is a quick short list off the top of my head:

  • » Another modality to bring the paradigm of "watch it, do it, teach it" into the classroom. It is one thing to know a thing; quite another to teach it. Real learning comes from teaching. In order to provide our students with authentic learning experiences I think we should try to get them to "teach" as much of what they are learning as possible. It's important for students to experience that kind of deep learning.
  • » Collaboration is an important skill and becoming more so in our rapidly changing society. I think teachers should do all they can to best prepare students to work in collaborative environments as that is the way all sectors of our economy our moving -- it is a more realistic experience and preparation for the kind of professional work kids will have to do in the future work force. (This will be particularly true for those students who "outsource" their work to others for the "Presentation" part of the assignment.)
  • » Having to present their work to a global audience not only increases motivation (via the fact of the large audience) but has another advantage: Publishing student work online gives it life beyond the end of our courses or the limits of our classroom walls. The ideas don't die; they grow wings. Student work published on a blog can be commented on by visitors at any time (weeks, months, years) after the work is done. If they have a question students may come back, reply and continue teaching and learning -- this kind of work fosters lifelong learning.

Over the next week I am planning to build a new blog with a unique and attractive template where we will publish all the students Developing Expert Voices (DEV) assignments. I will show them how to subscribe to the comments on their individual posts. If they get comments beyond the life of the class they will know about it and be able to reply.

Anyway, here's the assignment as it was published to my class blogs. If you adapt it, or part of it, for use in your class let me know. I'd be interested in how it plays out in other classrooms.


The Assignment
Think back on all the things you have learned so far this semester and create (not copy) four problems that are representative of what you have learned. Provide annotated solutions to the problems; they should be annotated well enough for an interested learner to understand and learn from you. Your problems should demonstrate the upper limit of your understanding of the concepts. (I expect more complex problems from a student with a sophisticated understanding than from a student with just a basic grasp of concepts.) You must also include a brief summary reflection (250 words max) on this process and also a comment on what you have learned so far.

Timeline
You will choose your own due date based on your personal schedule and working habits. The absolute final deadline is May 31, 2007. You shouldn't really choose this date. On the sidebar of the blog is our class Google Calendar. You will choose your deadline and we will add it to the calendar in class. Once the deadline is chosen it is final. You may make it earlier but not later.

Format
Your work must be published as an online presentation. You may do so in any format that you wish using any digital tool(s) that you wish. It may be as simple as an extended scribe post, it may be a video uploaded to YouTube or Google Video, it may be a SlideShare or BubbleShare presentation or even a podcast. The sky is the limit with this. You can find a list of free online tools you can use here (a wiki put together by Mr. Harbeck and myself specifically for this purpose). Feel free to mix and match the tools to create something original if you like.

Summary
So, when you are done your presentation should contain:

(a) 4 problems you created. Concepts included should span the content of at least one full unit. The idea is for this to be a mathematical sampler of your expertise in mathematics.

(b) Each problem must include a solution with a detailed annotation. The annotation should be written so that an interested learner can learn from you. This is where you take on the role of teacher.

(c) At the end write a brief reflection that includes comments on:

• Why did you choose the concepts you did to create your problem set?
• How do these problems provide an overview of your best mathematical understanding of what you have learned so far?
• Did you learn anything from this assignment? Was it educationally valuable to you? (Be honest with this. If you got nothing out of this assignment then say that, but be specific about what you didn't like and offer a suggestion to improve it in the future.)

Experts always look back at where they have been to improve in the future.

(d) Your presentation must be published online in any format of your choosing on the Developing Expert Voices blog. url: tba.
Experts are recognized not just for what they know but for how they demonstrate their expertise in a public forum.

Levels of Achievement
Instead of levels 1-4 (lowest to highest) we will use these descriptors. They better describe what this project is all about.

Novice: A person who is new to the circumstances, work, etc., in which he or she is placed.

Apprentice: To work for an expert to learn a skill or trade.

Journeyperson: Any experienced, competent but routine worker or performer.

Expert: Possessing special skill or knowledge; trained by practice; skillful and skilled.

Developing Expert Voices Rubric out of beta v.1.0

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This is the final version of the document published to all the class blogs.


Developing Expert Voices Rubric

The teaching of mathematical concepts is the main focus of this project; so we can teach other people and learn at the same time.

Acheivement Descriptors
Instead of levels 1-4 (lowest to highest) we use these descriptors. They better describe what this project is all about.
Novice: a person who is new to the circumstances, work, etc., in which he or she is placed; a beginner.
Apprentice: to bind to or place with a master craftsman, or the like, for instruction in a trade.
Journeyperson: any experienced, competent but routine worker or performer.
Expert: possessing special skill or knowledge; trained by practice; skillful or skilled.


Acheivement
Mathematical Challenge (25%)
Solutions (55%)
Presentation (20%)
Novice Problems illustrate only an introductory knowledge of the subject. They may be unsolvable or the solutions to the problems are obvious and/or easy to find. They do not demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. One or more solutions contain several errors with insufficient detail to understand what's going on. Explanation does not "flow," may not be in sequential order and does not adequately explain the problem(s). May also have improper mathematical notation. Presentation may or may not include visual or other digital enhancements. Overall, a rather uninspired presentation. Doesn't really stand out. It is clear that the student has invested little effort into planning their presentation.
Apprentice Problems are routine, requiring only modest effort or knowledge. The scope of the problems does not demonstrate the breadth of knowledge the student should have acquired at this stage of their learning. One or more solutions have a few errors but are understandable. Explanation may "flow" well but only vaguely explains one or more problems. Some parts of one or more solutions are difficult to follow. May include improper use of mathematical notation. The presentation style is attractive but doesn't enhance the content; more flashy than functional. It is clear that the student has invested some effort into planning their presentation.
Journeyperson Not all the problems are "routine" in nature. They span an appropriate breadth of material. At least one problem requires careful thought such as consideration of a special case or combines concepts from more than one unit. Showcases the writer's skill in solving routine mathematical problems. All solutions are correct and easy to understand. Very few or no minor errors. Explanation "flows" well and explains the problems step by step. Solution is broken down well and explained in a way that makes it easy to follow. May have minor use of improper mathematical notation. May point out other ways of solving one or more problems as well. The presentation may use multiple media tools. The presentation style is attractive and maintains interest. Some of the underlying message may be lost by some aspects that are more flashy than functional. It is clear that the student has given some forethought and planning to their presentation.
Expert Problems span more than one unit worth of material. All problems are non-routine. Every problem includes content from at least two different units. Problems created demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. Showcases the writer's skill in solving challenging mathematical problems. All solutions correct, understandable and highly detailed. No errors. Explanation "flows" well, explains the problems thoroughly and points out other ways of solving at least two of them. The presentation displays use of multiple media tools. The presentation style grabs the viewer's or reader's attention and compliments the content in a way aids understanding and maintains interest. An "eye opening" display from which it is evident that the student invested significant effort.


Creativity (up to 5% bonus)

The maximum possible mark for this assignment is 105%. You can earn up to 5% bonus marks for being creative in the way you approach this assignment. This is not a rigidly defined category and is open to interpretation. You can earn this bonus if your work can be described in one or more of these ways:

  • unique and creative way of sharing student's expertise, not something you'd usually think of;
  • work as a whole makes unexpected connections to real world applications;
  • original and expressive;
  • imaginative;
  • fresh and unusual;
  • a truly original approach; presentation method is unique, presented in a way no one would expect, e.g. song, movie, etc.





Developing Expert Voices Rubric ... 11th Hour beta Edition

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This is what the doc looks like after a week of students working on it. There has been a flurry of activity in the last two or three days. I have already edited the first two categories (Mathematical Challenge and Solution). The discussion pointed to the students desire to have Solution and Annotation condensed into a single category so that's what I did. The really interesting stuff is at the bottom of the doc. A student added a "Comments" section and there's a well thought out discussion about how the categories of "Presentation" and "Creativity" should be incorporated into the final document.

I'll also be publishing (soon) the assignment as it was published on the student's blogs prior to our collaboration (over 60 people including the three mentors) on this rubric. We used Google Docs to create this assessment tool.

It may be difficult to read some of the text against the background of the blog. (Use your mouse to "select" the text; that'll probably make it easier to read ... that's what I do. ;-) ) Different authours identified themselves by using different coloured text and/or differently highlighted text. As with the flickr rubric the document is not linear; different people added different content at different times and places. Also, Lani was using the comment feature of Google Docs to add her thoughts and these comments are automatically removed when Google Docs publishes directly to a blog, which is what was done here. (These notes were added afterwards by editing the blog post.)


Developing Expert Voices Rubric...


To All My Students
I've started putting together a rubric to grade your Developing Expert Voices assignments. I'm opening this document to all of you to help build the rubric. So far I've included 4 categories (see below).


Some Questions: What other categories should we have?
Should it be marked on a 5 point scale (0 to 4) or just "done" or "not done?"
I've included some suggested weightings for each category. Are they appropriate? Should one (or more) of them be increased/decreased?
Should there be marks assigned for creativity? Should "creativity" be another category? How would you describe the various "levels" of creativity? Maybe creativity should just be for bonus marks. What do you think?

Feel free to add to this document and make whatever changes you like. Together we'll build a better assignment. ;-)

To Do List
• We need to have "descriptions" for each "level" within each of the classifications below. Each description should be brief but include enough detail so that we all know what "excellence" does (and doesn't) look like.

• You can change anything and everything: Rename the levels, add/delete or change the classifications, change the grade weightings, etc.
• I've included some of my initial thoughts about what kind of things we should incorporate into each description. These are suggestions only. Feel free to expand on any or all of it. These need to be worked into descriptions of the various levels of achievement outlined below.

When we are done we should have something that looks like this:
http://adifference.blogspot.com/2006/12/flickr-assignment-rubric-v10-were-out.html

Levels
Instead of levels 1-4 (lowest to highest) we will use these descriptors. They better describe what this project is all about.
Novice: a person who is new to the circumstances, work, etc., in which he or she is placed
Apprentice: to bind to or place with a master craftsman, or the like, for instruction in a trade.
Journeyperson: any experienced, competent but routine worker or performer.
Expert: possessing special skill or knowledge; trained by practice; skillful or skilled



RUBRIC CLASSIFICATIONS (percentages indicate weighting of total grade)


The teaching of mathematical concepts is the main reason for this project; so we can teach other people and at the same time learn.


Mathematical Challenge (25%)__________________________
- breadth of topics
- appropriate level of difficulty
- problems are "doable"
Novice: Problems illustrate only an introductory knowledge of subject. They may be unsolvable. The solutions to the problems are obvious or easy to find. They do not demonstrate mastery of the subject matter.
Apprentice: Problems are routine, requiring only modest effort/knowledge. The scope of the problems does not demonstrate the breadth of knowledge the student should have acquired at this stage of their learning.

Journeyperson: Not all the problems are "routine" in nature. They span an appropriate breadth of material. At least one problem requires careful thought such as consideration of a special case or combines concepts from more than one unit. Showcases the writer's skill in solving routine mathematical problems.
Expert: Problems span more than one unit worth of material. All problems are non-routine. Every problem includes content from at least two different units. Problems created demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. Showcases the writer's skill in solving challenging mathematical problems.


Solutions (55%)__________________________

- notation
- all steps clearly delineated
- easy to follow
- mathematical work is correct
Novice: One or more solutions contain several errors with not enough detail to understand what's going on. Explanation does not "flow," may not be in sequential order and does not sufficiently explain the problem. May have improper mathematical notation.
Apprentice: One or more solutions have a few errors but are understandable. Explanation may "flow" well but only vaguely explains one or more problems. Some parts of one or more solutions are difficult to follow. May include improper use of mathematical notation.
Journeyperson: All solutions are correct and easy to understand. Very few or no minor errors. Explanation "flows" well and explains the problems step by step. Solution is broken down well and explained in a way that makes it easy to follow. May have minor use of improper mathematical notation. May point out other ways of solving one or more problems as well.
Expert: All solutions correct, understandable and highly detailed. No errors. Explanation "flows" well, explains the problem thoroughly and points out other ways of solving at least two problems as well.


Presentation (20%)

__________________________
_I think this should be worth only 10% because the presentation does not have to do with a person's grasp of the concept and they may already be receiving bonus marks for there creativity. I agree with Kasia on that. (Aichelle)

I second the motion. (John D.)

I think that presentation should be worth 40%. If your work doesn't captivate the reader then it will not be read. What will mathematical challenge and solution matter if they are not even looked at? (Grey-M)

Hmm.. putting some thought into it, the presentation should be worth 20%. I kinda agree with Grey-M's point because if the presentation is dull, it won't grab much attention. It shouldn't really be worth a lot since we're looking at how much the person understands the concept. (John D.)

It would still be 60 percent for the math and the solution. I think that is plenty. (Grey-M)
I don't think that 60% is quite plenty. But then again, we would put a lot more effort on our projects, making our projects look presentable and professional. I'm still sticking to 20%. Or maybe 20%-30%. And we're already getting bonus marks for creativity. (John D.)

I don't know about you, but if I was looking at a couple projects I would read the one that looks more professional over one that looks amateurish. Then the content, though superior, of the more drab one is lost to the limitless void of the internet or as Mr.K would say the project would die and I believe the whole point of this being on the web is so that our projects won't die. (Grey-M)

Ricky: Actually I agree with Kasia and John with this because for me presentation is just the final touches to make the project look right. Even if the presentation is superior, the internet community, depends on who are you actually looking at it, say a grade 8 person has no idea what there looking at and they look at the presentation aspect and say it's awsome but the mathamatics are not correct. A university student would be looking more at the mathamatical aspect and would be judging the math, not the presentaion of it. Putting Presentation at such a high mark is not a real good option beacuse this is a mathamatical project not an art project and should have a higher concentration on mathamatics in general instead on how it looks. I'd rather have it at a 20% mark. And we also have bonus marks for Creativity so it works for me.

Ten say:Well i think Presentation 's mark is good , because if you can presentting your project is a really good way to learn

Great point Graeme, I completely agree. A project that is going to be viewed on the internet must have some visual appeal to it, otherwise it will be overlooked. Not that it is the main focus of the project, but if it is worth more, it will ensure that we will put a lot more effort into it. But John is correct the project focuses on how well we can teach what we know, not how pretty it is. My number is: 20%. («Craig»)


- doesn't detract from content
- holds learner's interest
- aids in understanding content
Novice:The project is presented without the help of any media tools and barely stands out from the majority due to low level of creativity. (Aichelle) the project is given some effort. John D. - The project doesn't quite hold the learner's interest, dull, and not much of an effort was given. The project is presented with very little, if any, effort and the reader either is not attracted to it initially or becomes uninterested easily. "Took the easy way out" in terms of online presentation (media tools, etc.). («Craig»)Ricky: Project is presented in blogger with help of minor visuals using tools like paint for example. Also, work seems repetive and boring to readers.
Apprentice:The project is presented through a single media tool and only entices a small group of people (minor captivation). Creativity is sufficient but not overwhelming.(Aichelle) the project is given effort. Ricky: Project is presented in blogger with help from online tools like fooplot and slideshare, showing some knowledge of online presentation. Presentation is also somewhat intresting and holds details that keeps readers intrested
Journeyperson:The project is presented through different types of media tools and captivate the majority of the viewers due to a high level of creativity. There is XFACTOR but it's not enough to completely deliver the message.(Aichelle) the project is given good effort. Ricky: Project is presented in blogger but uses a wide variety of tools to create a unique presentation access. People are intrested in what's going on in the problems and creates an atmosphere that wants readers to come back and read again.
Expert:The project displays an immense use of creativity and is presented through several types of media tools that entice the people to view the project. The level of presentation and creativity further aid in the understanding of the desired solution to the problem. It makes you say, "WOOOOWW!" (Aichelle) project is given excellent effort. John D. - A lot of media/learning tools were given, learners are definitely interested. The learners fully understand the content given and are captivated. Ricky: Project is presented in such a way that wows the audience to come back for more, it also is represented in tools that work with the project in general, and is organized in blogger from top to bottom. It also helps the other aspects of the project and makes the project look extrodinary well.

COMMENTS__________________________


Vincent says: I suppose we can associate CREATIVITY with PRESENTATION due to the fact that if something is creative, it is very presentable. What attracts attention is CREATIVITY and this will determine the level of presentation required. On the other hand, if something is plain and bland, it is not considered PRESENTABLE thus, it is not creative at all. If this doesn't make sense, then I'll just say that CREATIVITY exposes the level of PRESENTATION of the project. Therefore, they should be combined and cateogrized as one. I also suggest that MATHEMATICAL CHALLENGE should be just 20% due to the fact not everyone knows their MATH level yet. Besides, if a quarter of the mark is based on the level of the challenge, this will require further explanation of WHICH is considered a challenging problem. Also, i think that SOLUTION AND ANNOTATION should both equal 50% because they are almost synonymous. Therefore, there is no reason for us to separate the two categories. 55% is a bit too much and is an odd number. It is not a very nice whole number. 50 is a good number. This leaves us with PRESENTATION and CREATIVITY. If we have decided that they should be two different categories, PRESENTATION should be worth 15% and CREATIVITY should be worth 15% or if we have decided they should be combined, then simply say, XFACTOR PRESENTATION = 30%. Therefore, MATH CHALLENGE (20%) + SOLUTIONS and ANNOTATION (50%) + CREATIVITY and PRESENTATION (30%) = 100%. Bonus marks are in Mr. Kuropatwa's discretion.

Mark: I agree with what Vincent said. I think that is a good idea to put most of the percentage into Solution and annotation because it is what shows our own mastery about that topic.

Ricky: For presentation... What if we are colaborating with the other group?? How will that effect the project in general?
I also think that solution and annotation should be combined b/c you should explain the steps involved with solving while you solve the problem
Mr. K. says: I think this is a good idea. We just have to include level descriptors that include this. Also, how shall we weight the mark? If "solution" and "annotation" are combined should it be worth 55% of the mark? How would you redistribute that?I agree with this. If they are combined it would be good to make it a slight majority of the marks. 55% is my magic number, under the category SOLUTION!. For the rubric of it, combine the Novice, Apprentice, Journeyperson, and Expert from each of the two categories to make one long explanation for each level or work. («Craig»)

If we do collaborate with another class then we can update the rubric to incorporate that, meybe even invite the students in the other class to help us figure out the rubric together.

MArk Says: I think that we should add a creativity category so that people will add more effort on their projects. I believe that the creativity category will bring our creative side out and even make this project interesting.
Aichelle says: I agree wth Mark I think there should be a creativity category or maybe it could go towards bonus marks.

What might the descriptors look like for a creativity category? What words might be appropriate? Laninhall 3/21/07 9:09 PM


Jennifer says: I also agree with mark about the creativity category. But Mr. K, you mentioned something about if people are afraid to experiment with the "presentation" part of the assignment, there will be these grade 9 students who would help us do the presentation part if we are interested. Would that boost up our mark for collaborating with these students, or would it lower our mark because we got help from these students?


Mr. K says: If we end up outsourcing your work to New York we can look at these descriptors again but my first reactions is this: You won't be penalized for outsourcing the presentation but it still must meet our class' standard for excellence in the way it is presented. If you are outsourcing your presentation then you have to oversee how it is done to ensure that the standard of excellence is met. Just because you are not putting together the presenation yourself doesn't mean you are not responsible for how your work gets presented.



Kasia says:In my opinion the creativity should be for bonus marks. It isn't the creativity we are being marked on, it is our understanding of the concepts and ability to explain them to others through our problems.

I don't think the category of creativity should be mandatory. I think it should just go towards bonus marks. In our scribe posts, some people are more creative than others... but it doesn't mean that they don't understand what's going on. Some people like to keep things simple, and others like to be creative with their scribe posts... so I think creativity should be bonus. If we make a category of creativity, then everyone will be required to be creative I think that being creative should be of your own will.. because in order to be creative, you have to do something without being told, and being creative is something you do unexpectedly.

John D. says: Creativity should just be for bonus marks. We are being marked based on how much we understand the concept and our ability to explain the problem to others, not on how pretty our project is... could be up to 10%.

OK, after all of the above how does this sound: I pasted the "creativity" description from the flickr rubric where it's worth bonus marks to a maximum of 5%. That means that the highest possible mark on the assignment is 105%. Should just paste this into this rubric as well? Lani asked about what language should we use to describe what creative work looks like. How does this sound? It was written for the flickr assignment, it needs some editing to reflect the work we are doing in this assignment:

Creativity (up to 5% bonus)

The maximum possible mark for this assignment is 105%. You can earn up to 5% bonus marks for being creative in the way you approach this assignment. This is not a rigidly defined category and is open to interpretation. You can earn this bonus if your work can be described in one or more of these ways:

  • unique and creative way of looking at the world, not something you'd usually think of;
  • if the problem does have roots (corny math pun, couldn't resist) in the real world, then does it have any applications in real world problems? Would it have uses in industry or the sciences? This is important because what good is math if it does not have use in a real world setting in some way?
  • original and expressive;
  • imaginative;
  • fresh and unusual;
  • a truly original approach. (method is unique, presented in a way no one would expect, eg. song, movie, etc.) («Craig»)

Ten say: I think this is fair tho, its just 5 percent creativity ,because everyone is different and everyone does the project in a different way, so this mark should be hard to get




Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Good Day

· 7 comments

You couldn't tell from reading my blog but a lot of wonderful things have been happening (in my little corner of the world) lately.

A grade 5 student (10 years old), Eddie visited my blog and left me a comment so I returned the favour. Eddie then did some digging around and stumbled upon one of my currently active class blogs, Pre-Cal 40S (Winter '07). I brought up his visit in class and we read what he had written about us. My students were very taken with Eddie (the link is to our daily podcast where Eddie came up; listen between 26 minutes and 36 minutes) and some of them have gone back to his blog and left him comments. Eddie has really grokked blogging and good commenting; he ends each comment with a question that invites continued discussion and he is diligent about replying to every comment left on his blog. My students are learning a lot from this young man from Georgia.

So the students are talking to each other and Mrs. Emmert left me a comment on my last post and hopefully that will also grow into a dialogue.

There's more going on.

I'm getting better at using my SmartBoard. I'm learning a new functionality or feature of it every day.

Picking up on ideas from Clarence my classroom is evolving into more of a studio, or atelier learning environment and the scribe posts are growing into something substantially more than a reiteration of the notes that were given in class. We typically move between websites like fooplot.com and the SmartBoard Notebook slides (published daily on slideshare.net). Take a look at tonight's scribe post which incorporates graphs captured from fooplot.com, text with colour used in a meaningful way and Bubbleshare.com. As a matter of fact, if you play the bubbleshare slideshow and continue reading, the coloured text on the blog follows the coloured text in the slides ... and the timing is nearly perfect. A stroke of genius that!

These changes in the classroom routine have had a significant impact on the students. We've got a test coming up this week and each student has to write a reflection about where they are in their learning beforehand (it's worth one mark on the test). I ask the students to post these reflections a few days before the test so that I can read where they are having difficulty and address those issues in class before it counts for marks. I'm so focused on this that I missed another emerging pattern in what they've been writing. Lani didn't miss it though. (Lani is one of three volunteer mentors I have on my class blogs.) She's pulled out snippets of the pattern that she saw emerging in the students writing and reflected it back to them. I was chuffed ... I blushed a little too, but it felt good. ;-)

To top it off, Clarence emailed me tonight to ask if I'd seen this. (The CBC is one of Canada's two major news networks.)

Yup ... a very good day. ;-)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Extreme Photo Retouching

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Stumbled Upon this. Like before, something to share with my kids.

Learning about learning ...

While walking ...
Best viewed "full screen." (Click on bottom right corner of any video when playing.)

With pictures ...
Best viewed "full screen." (Click on bottom right corner of any image when playing.)

Curating discoveries ...


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