Assessment and Journey North
As you begin
the Journey North season, you're probably considering how you will assess
your students' understanding over the next 4 months. We hope this posting
will initiate thought and discussion about this important issue. It was
contributed by 5th grade teacher Cathie Plaehn, a member of our Advisory
by Cathie Plaehn
There are many opportunities for assessment embedded in
the Journey North project. Here are a few of the ideas I've used:
Use of Challenge Questions
Challenge Questions are a great vehicle for observing student progress:
- Have students
keep a journal of all Challenge Questions.
- Have them record
their first hypothesis in writing.
- Next, encourage
further thought and research. Ask them to list all the resources used.
- As a written exercise,
have them explain their answers and defend their reasoning.
- Watch for Journey
North to post the discussion of each Challenge Question, and have students
re-evaluate their initial thoughts.
Use of Journey
North News Updates
On a regular basis, have students write a specific summary of the
information they gathered from Journey North postings, and the questions
generated. Compare the sophistication of the student's rationale for making
and changing predictions at regular intervals over the 4 months. For example,
have students record their own KWL charts at various points. See:
Ideally, individual students will keep a Journey North science journal
all season. Periodically, have individual students record their thoughts
in this journal so you can observe their progress through the project.
At the conclusion of the season, have students (or student groups)
give presentations to the class about the migration they are following.
I prepare my students for this at the beginning by giving them each a
display area to maintain. They must plan how they'll use their space &
coordinate the group to maintain it. (In the samples below, students made
their own maps to track the migration, displayed the many facts they learned
during the migration, etc.) I use my school district's Presentation Rubric
to evaluate these projects.
Teacher Discussion on Assessment
How do you plan to assess your students this year? Please contribute your
ideas to the Journey North Teacher Discussion
Area. Describe the challenges you're facing, and share your questions
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