To help your students develop concept mastery, it is important that they SHOW what they know and understand rather than simply test us what they we want them to know. Why Telling AND Showing is better than just Telling:
- Performance tasks are engaging. They not only require students to demonstrate proficiently- they are much more fun than answering questions or filling in the blanks of a worksheet.
- Performance tasks require students to think at a high level and employ a variety of skills. Rather than simply memorizing facts, students will analyze, apply, and synthesize what they learn.
- Invite Creativity: Students have a chance here to show their multiple intelligences. They can sing, dance, draw, or perform their understanding. In such demonstrations will have a chance to communicate through their best language modes. The more creative the better- we ant students to demonstrate understandings across wide and varied mediums and modes through speech, exhibit, video, presentation, recital, dramatic reading, or role-play, they will gain critical skills.
- Provide more authentic forms of assessment: We are not saying that traditional means of assessment don’t have a place, but it is hard to differentiate a percentile score or find ways to help a student succeed when all we have in hand is knowledge that they looked up definitions in the dictionary. As you ask student to show more and more, you and your students will gain skill and expertise with this 21st century assessment tool.
The following activities, exercises, and tasks cover a wide range of academic areas and social skills. Use them to spark your own ideas.
- Design a song or rap
- Produce a video reflection
- Act out words or ideas using creative drama techniques like Tableaux and Hot Seat
- Create a metaphor or simile summarizing the key ideas
New assessment of understanding are needed to measure 21st Century skills and passion driven learning objectives. We have found the showing or performance is the key. These performance-oriented tasks require students to beyond the literal meanings and interpretation by taking action on that meaning in artistic, creative, and critical ways.
One of my favorite people in this space is Silvia Tolisano (aka Langwitches), and she has just released Digital Storytelling: Tools for Educators, a super how-to guide with tips and tools for our classrooms and our own professional development. Highly recommend it to all.