Embedding visuals on assessments helps to make connections to learning
Over the past several weeks, my grade 4 students have been working hard to develop their competence in net games. They were allowed to explore 3 different sports related to net games over the 6 weeks; tennis, badminton, and volleyball. Throughout the unit, we continually discussed what types of things were challenging for them in net games and set up drills and activities to address these obstacles. The central idea for the net games unit was:
I wanted to provide my students with every possible opportunity to identify what key fundamentals were necessary in this unit, so had planned a number of questions in advance to get them thinking during their activities. It wasn't always successful and I had to step in quite often and directly help them identify what these key fundamentals were. But, I am happy that through inquiry they were able to come up with some of these fundamentals on their own.
Net games are quite tricky to teach at this age as there are so many distinct differences in level of skill. Some students really really struggle, so helping them to achieve success must be paramount. Sometimes this was by letting them use beach balls to just work on the skill of volleying the ball back and forth. Other times, it was giving them a soft sponge ball with very little bounce while they were practicing their tennis skills. For the students who were already quite skilled in all areas of net games, I could get them playing modified games straight away. I then challenged these students to develop specific technical skills such as the drop shot in tennis and badminton.
The Summative Assessment Task
During the unit, we had created 2 key visuals. One that got them thinking about the central idea and another visual that identified major obstacles they faced while learning the different skills in net games. I used jpegs of these visuals and embedded them directly on to their assessment sheets. Once I handed out these assessment sheets, we had a quick review by looking at the visuals on the assessment sheet and had a short discussion about the unit in general before I set them free to complete the task. The entire process took less than 15 minutes. I can easily justify the pedagogical value in taking this length of time to complete such an important assessment task. They had to do a simple rubric as well as answer the following questions:
Describe how your competence increased during the net games unit.
What did you learn about key fundamentals?
What are some things that you really struggled with in this unit?
Did you improve upon these areas.
Describe how you improved?
What were you most proud of?
I have included some examples of student assessment below. All in all, a fun unit to be a part of with the students. They really seemed to like the unit and the feedback they gave me was that they wanted more choices in regards to equipment. As well. they want more beach balls to practice volleyball and they really enjoyed learning the game of badminton. Thanks for reading. Hope this blog post gives you some ideas for your net games unit.