In all honesty, this year has been hands down, my favourite year of my career. I have had some amazing opportunities in the classroom and beyond, but more than those, I have taught classes full of outstanding students. For regular readers of my blog, you will know that marks aren’t the most important element of the assessment practice as I strongly believe in triangulation of assessment data. To me, the products are a third of what I do. As a professional goal and as part of my Action Research Project, I’ve been focusing on obtaining as much conversational and observational data as possible.

On the Action Research Project I’m working with one of my favourite educators and people in the world, Anne Doelman. Anne uses a small group presentation technique in her communication technology classes and I loved the idea and have incorporated it into my ENG 2PI class. The results are, in my opinion, so much more authentic as the students feel comfortable in a smaller group setting and usually are with their friends. It also provides the opportunity for rich conversational and observational data as I’ve structured it to incorporate them facilitating a conversation after they share their work. With the 2P’s I end up helping them with the facilitation component, but it allows me see their skills in an environment that is not threatening nor stressful. I see the students and hear their honest thoughts. 

For me this has allowed me to have some real conversations. 2P students are so genuine and in many cases are much more observant about the world than given credit. After today’s conversations, I have new respect for the students who shared. They were talking about deep topics and felt comfortable to share some of their beliefs and ideas that would not be present in a full class oral presentation.

The observational data comes in as I could watch for curriculum requirements like listening for understanding and speaking to communicate. In this non-threatening context the students didn’t actually know I could consider these portions of curriculum and it was authentic as they needed to understand in order to communicate effectively. For many of my 2P’s, their strength is in the oral communication strand and this opportunity gave me rich data.

In considering how to track this kind of data, I also have taken a page from Anne and am using a Google Form to make notes. In the notes section, I was able to comment on the curriculum strands not listed and just having the form open on my Chromebook while the students presented made it so convenient for me to track that data.

Yet another amazing day in my class. I truly am blessed.

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