We had a very successful conclusion to our flat classroom peer assessment project yesterday afternoon. Grade 3 students from both Nanjing International School and United Nations International School took part in a summative assessment task that required them to perform routines not only in front of their own classmates, but also on Skype to the students watching from the other school. Cam McHale, elementary PE teacher from UNIS and myself collaborated on the assessment criteria and shared it with our students well in advance of yesterday's performances.
It was clear to see that the students from UNIS and NIS were very engaged in this activity and were eager to perform on Skype. An added value component to this summative assessment task was that some students got up in front of the camera and provided verbal feedback after each routine which was well-received by the performing groups at UNIS and NIS. I would like to thank Cam McHale for his commitment in seeing this project through to its completion with me. It has been a rewarding journey for both myself and my students as it has been for Cam and his students. Cam and I will continue to collaborate on more possibilities to link our PYP PE programs together in an effort to enhance the learning of our students.
Interested in joining this initiative? If so, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please view video and slideshow below!
Cam began his PE career teaching in a preparatory school in London within the British curriculum and moved back to NZ to further his training and taught there for two years in secondary school. He then moved, with his wife, to the International School of Tanganyika in Tanzania where he taught PYP PE for 4 years as well as being the Activities Coordinator. This is his first year at UNIS. He looks forward to extending his understanding of how to deliver more effective learning using the PYP model.
As Cam and I have been working together on this flat classroom peer assessment project between our schools, I think it is great for him to do a guest blog on how things are going from the perspective of his students and the PE program that he teaches in. A project such as this takes a lot of commitment as it requires setting time aside to collaborate on Skype in order to mesh schedules and work through logistical issues that are sure to arise. Cam has been excellent to work with making this project all the more worthwhile professionally. Thanks Cam for your guest blog contribution!
Andy mooted this idea of a flat peer assessment over skype over two months ago and we were lucky enough to have some flexibility in our program to slide units around a bit to try to mirror his G2 and 3 movement composition classes. Through some fortune and some modification we also had classes that were on at similar times of the day.
From the outset the kids were enthusiastic about working with another school and also about the freedom that the elemental theme for the dance allowed. We used Cirque du Soleil as a stimulus for ideas and also as the theme music. Andy combined his gymnastics and dance together into one longer unit, whereas we had completed our gymnastics unit earlier in the school year, so just had to retouch on some of the those principles whilst introducing dance elements. The central idea was based around combining the two to create a movement routine.
The peer assessment occurred formatively and summatively along the journey with Andy and I sharing our classes progress throughout the unit. The kids got a real buzz from communicating with children from another school and we had a mini-geography lesson trying to explain where NIS was actually located. The instant verbal feedback was well-received, particularly the positive comments and observations, and having completed the assessment a few times on each other, the students were very familiar with the criteria and became accurate observers themselves.
The benefits of collaborating with another teacher (actually several throughout the entire process) are myriad. Often you get stuck in your own proven track and outside provocation and idea-sharing provides new angles on improving student learning. I had never thought of combining a dance and gym unit but having nearly completed the process it is something I will look to employ in the future.
Some of the difficulties we experienced were initially finding time to collaborate but we solved this as we became more familiar with each other’s timetables. The obvious technical considerations are always going to be present with bandwidth, camera settings, facility scheduling, class timetables all having an impact. However, each of these problems were solved with a shared solution-based mindset and the meaningful exchanges the kids were making over skype made all the work worthwhile.
I want to thank Andy for allowing me share in this experience and I would encourage any other PE teacher to consider using this form of experimental yet effective assessment at some point.
United Nations International School
We had another round of peer assessment via Skype with United Nations International School in Hanoi today. My grade 2 class at Nanjing International School watched a grade 2 class from UNIS perform their routines and provided verbal feedback after each performance. We feel that immediate verbal feedback is best rather than pencil and paper assessment. The students at UNIS had some really interesting elements at work in their routines and were good performers. My students in Nanjing enjoyed watching the routines and gave the UNIS students some good feedback. Cam McHale, the elementary PE teacher from UNIS, who is working on this project with me will be guest blogging this week about how things went from their perspective at UNIS. Below are pictures and video of our classes connecting on Skype. A worthwhile activity that I recommend to any PE teachers out there!
The elementary PE departments at Nanjing International School in China and United Nations International School in Hanoi are continuing to collaborate and make improvements to the flat classroom peer assessment project that we started a few weeks back. For background information, please see the following links from previous blogs (http://www.pyppewithandy.com/2/post/2012/02/flat-classroom-collaborative-peer-assessment-project-in-pyp-pe.html and http://www.pyppewithandy.com/2/post/2012/02/flat-classroom-peer-assessment-project-update-nanjing-international-school-and-united-nations-international-school.html)
Cam McHale and myself had another collaborative planning session on Skype yesterday afternoon and determined that we are mostly on track with the project. There are certain logistical issues that we are still trying to overcome such as time zone difference and a consistent Skype connection, but neither of these two issues have held us back from seeing this project through.
Our grade 2 classes will meet next Wednesday morning as it is our turn(NIS) to assess the UNIS students doing their ‘Wind’ routines. We both agree that the most valuable part of the Skype peer assessment is verbal feedback given by students as it is immediate and the students find this most useful. Our grade 3 classes will meet on Skype on Friday, March 9th and perform their movement composition routines using the same assessment criteria that Cam and I created yesterday. Please see picture below of the assessment criteria. The assessment task is to use the color code provided to assess three criteria: combining elements, different levels, and body expression. I will continue to document how this project unfolds.
I am happy to say that we (NIS and UNIS) completed the first chapter of our flat classroom peer assessment project yesterday afternoon with grade 2. For background information on this project, please visit earlier blog (http://www.pyppewithandy.com/2/post/2012/02/flat-classroom-collaborative-peer-assessment-project-in-pyp-pe.html) to see the specifics. Despite experiencing some logistical issues related to scheduling and IT concerns regarding our Skype connection, we were able to stick to our original timeframe and completed the first peer assessment via Skype yesterday afternoon from 1-2pm Nanjing time.
Although things seemed to go quite well, we recognize that there are some areas that could be improved upon. Cameron McHale, the PE teacher from United Nations International School in Vietnam, did a great job at organizing things from his end to ensure all went smoothly. Both Cam and I decided to change the format in which his students were going to assess my students. We needed to ensure maximum efficiency when peer assessing as timing was critical, especially considering the fact that 50 students (three grade 2 classes) were participating at NIS and 20 grade 2 students were viewing our performances via Skype at UNIS. A very special thanks to NIS drama teacher, Sam Brown and NIS music teacher, Bonnie Tsung for their help in making this happen as well!
Cam’s students watched 4 consecutive movement composition routines and were given a couple of minutes between each group’s performance to peer assess. The best thing about the entire process was that at the end of the 4 routines, aside from the pencil and paper assessment, some of Cam’s students gave verbal feedback to my students that was extremely useful. His students commented on how cool it was to see cartwheels, scarves, and other elements in the routine. They even mentioned that seeing our routines was great because it gave them ideas for their routines. It was clear to see that they were completely focused and following along on Skype.
My students will be observing Cam’s students do their routines in two weeks time. That will conclude the grade 2 part of this project. We have also scheduled peer assessment projects via Skype with our grade 3 classes on March 9th. Please view slide show below of the flat classroom peer assessment process continuing to unfold. It has been a great professional experience so far. Cam and I look forward to refining the process in an effort to make the learning experience more valuable for the students and to provide as much feedback as possible to any other teachers around the world wanting to try this sort of thing out.
PYP PE: A Flat Classroom Collaborative Project
Skype has allowed people from around the world to connect for various purposes. Be it good friends, our own families, or for job interviews, Skype has become an extremely valuable tool used by millions around the globe. The main basis of the flat classroom movement is to connect educators globally in an effort to share collaborative practices that ultimately enrich the learning experiences of our students.
Bearing this in mind, Skype has already been used quite successfully to connect classrooms from various corners of the world. Creating peer assessment opportunities in PE via Skype has been a goal of mine, but the logistics of finding other PE practitioners, the scheduling of classes, finding time to collaborate, and time zone differences can make a task such as this very difficult to get off the ground.
Through a genuinely shared interest in PYP PE, Cameron McHale, an experienced PE teacher from United Nations School in Hanoi and myself have been in communication over the past several weeks, by email, discussing the possibilities of setting up such a project. We decided the time had come for us to actually schedule our first Skype meeting to try and get this project afloat.
We will be documenting the entire process on my blog, beginning with our first meeting yesterday. If you are interested in the way this project unfolds, please check out the blog each week for new details. We feel as though it will be an excellent learning experience for the students, but also valuable professional development for us as it is the first time either of us have undertaken such an endeavor. We are confident that it will work and are willing to put in the time and effort to see it through to its completion.
Thursday, Feb. 9th Skype Meeting Summary
Grade levels and scheduling of classes:
It was determined, based on our schedules and current PE units that this project was logistically possible with grade 2 and 3 Movement Composition as Cam and I were both doing this unit with these grade levels. The scheduling of classes also suited as there was similar overlap despite the one-hour time difference.
The Assessment Task
As my grade 2 and grade 3 classes have already begun their movement composition units, Cam agreed that it was best to follow the plan that I have had in place with my students. I have already blogged about the PE/Drama integration that I am doing with grade 2. Please see following link for specific description of the task (http://www.pyppewithandy.com/2/post/2012/02/pyp-pe-pe-and-drama-integration-the-process-unfolding.html). Essentially, the summative assessment task will require the students to work in groups at creating a short routine based on the idea of the “Wind”. The students have already brainstormed many ways that the wind moves and how it sounds. These elements are expected to be infused into their routines.
The Assessment Tool
I already created a rubric based on the brainstorming sessions and ideas of my students. It was introduced to them this week. Cam will introduce the same rubric next week to his students at United Nations School of Hanoi. His students will be encouraged to add their ideas to the rubric at which time these ideas will be sent back to me. I will revise the rubric and re-introduce the enhanced version next week to my students. It will be this rubric that will be used for the Skype peer assessment summative task at the end of the unit. Rubrics will be scanned and emailed back in order to give feedback to the students.
Monday, Feb. 13th-17th students at UNIS and NIS will work on their routines. Cam’s students are a few weeks behind, but this does not create any issues as they will perform their routines on Skype to my students a couple of weeks after we do ours. By the end of next week, the final rubric will be in place.
Tuesday, Feb 21st:
Cam and I will set up Skype and be sure that everything is in place as my students will perform their final “Wind” routines from 2:00-3:00pm Nanjing time (1:00-2:00pm Hanoi time). Cam’s students will view our routines, on Skype and peer assess using the rubric which was collaboratively created by both teachers and students from UNIS and NIS.
Tuesday, March 6th:
My class will watch Cam’s grade 2 students perform their routines using the same rubric to peer assess.
We highlighted the fact that due to potentially dodgy internet connections, Skype could be disrupted. In the event that this happens, we will be recording our routines and will immediately upload them on to You Tube. Cam and his students will access our routines on You Tube and still be able to assess.
Next collaborative Skype meeting: Wednesday, Feb. 15th
On Agenda: New ideas for rubric