Friday, 2 December 2016

Success Criteria

At the Membership meeting last week, I highlighted the professional development work done by the teachers on Tuesday afternoons. This year they have been working on learning goals, success criteria and planning for our project-based learning theme. During the meeting, I asked the members to create a self-portrait, but the exercise was not about the self-portrait but about seeing and understanding how learning goals and success criteria are developed and used. We develop these tools in order to promote learning, mastery of skills and beautiful work.

Now this all sounds good, but unless it makes its way into practice and into the classroom it is meaningless. The good news is that these tools are present in the classroom. Let me share a story about what occurred yesterday.

Success Criteria on the Whiteboard
Yesterday morning, I was in my office working on a document that identifies the skills and knowledge of great teaching and I was working with statements on using learning goals, success criteria and other assessment tools. As I was working, the language that was appearing on my written work was being echoed by the language coming from the Grade 7 room. Since hearing the language was more interesting then writing it, I left my office to go and see what was happening. What I observed confirmed what I was hearing.

The grade 7 class, facilitated by Mrs. Dam were co-creating success criteria for a children’s story project. I am not sure if you are going to be able to read the success criteria in the accompanying photo, but it is worthy to note that all of the responses, the success criteria or the benchmarks of beautiful work, were supplied by the student based upon their prior knowledge. The teacher was assisting the students to make connections between their prior knowledge and the new work they are about to create. Now each student is equipped with the knowledge and a checklist of items they need to incorporate into their work.

Grade 7 Students and Teacher
As an administer, it is a privilege to witness this work. In my office and in the staff room at the beginning of the school year I posted a simple sign that states: think, plan, execute and repeat. The story I just shared, demonstrates these steps. Yesterday, I was able to express my joy and thanks to the teacher and the students of Grade 7 for their work. I now eagerly wait for their beautiful creations.

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