Friday, June 6, 2014

Culminating Assessment

My hope for students in English 10 is that as they practice reading, writing, thinking, listening, and speaking, they engage with their learning in personal ways. Therefore, my culminating assessment is a very open-ended prompt requiring students to choose something that interested them from English class this semester, explore it further through research and/or creativity, connect it to a biblical theme or principle, make a specific action plan for how working with this idea will make a difference in their life, and present the outcome to the class. 

For the past 3 days, I’ve been watching these presentations. Here’s what I’ve seen:
  • Lessons on greed, ambition, contentment, identity, infatuation, love. 
  • Connections to Daniel Beatty’s Def Poetry performance “Knock, Knock,” Ishigaki Rin’s “The Pan, the Pot, the Fire I Have Before Me,” Leo Tolstoy’s “How Much Land Does a Man Need?”, Franz Kafka’s “The Bucket Rider,” Haruki Murakami’s After Dark, Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Research on brain chemicals, introverts and leadership, Shakespeare’s symbolic use of the forest, the recent ferry disaster in South Korea. 
  • Creative expression in posters, drawings, models, short stories, a poem, a museum tour, 2 Web pages (identity and greed), and very memorably, a one-man sock puppet show involving interaction among several characters from different works of literature as well as the puppet master himself. 
  • Determinations to focus on the blessings one has, to choose the smaller piece of cake, to be kind to family members, to pay more attention to a girl’s character than to her appearance, to practice wise use of money.
One delightful project I want to share here was a children’s book on “What Is Love?” The student said she wanted to try to express this complex topic in a simple way. I think she succeeded brilliantly. How about you?

When my dad works until late at night to support the family. That's love.

When my mom listens to my endless stories about school and gives me advice. That's love.

When someone stops to help pick up papers that I dropped in the hallways. That's love.

When my friends push me to do things outside of my comfort zone because they know I can do it. That's love.

When Mrs. Essenburg makes us do 10 corrections on our essays because she knows that's how we'll learn. That's love.

When Hermia and Lysander were willing to run away to get married. That's love.

When Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. That's the greatest love of all.
At times like this, I identify with Simeon: “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace....” But then I rein in the drama and just say--I think they’re ready for English 11. 

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