I feel as if I have learned a lot of lasting lessons from this course, too many to put into a 500-word final reflection. So, for this reflection I will focus on 2 aspects of the course. The first has had an impact on how I will teach in my classroom, and the second has had an impact on how I will approach my own learning and professional development.
First, using a pre-unit assessment with a rubric that students can grade themselves on that will be administered again after the post-unit summative test. This is a great tool that I had not used before in my classroom. I had, of course, administered pre-tests to gauge the holes in knowledge of my students so that I could better target the areas that they needed the most help with, but I had not given a student centered rubric to them so they could grade themselves and track their own progress. After using the ‘pre-test, rubric, post-test, rubric’ model, then having the students compare their rubric results based on their mastery of the material, I am a full believer in this process. The students truly get to have ownership of their learning by using this model. They can see clearly in the beginning where they need to focus their efforts in order to achieve mastery. At the end they can again clearly see where they improved along their path to mastery. Being be to clearly see the results, and know what they mean, really empowers students to take control of their own learning and motivates them to do their best on their path to achieving mastery of the subject at hand. I will be using this model for every unit that I can. This is one huge take-away from this course and one I will be telling my colleagues about in hope of them adopting a similar approach.
Second, be calm and do your best from the very beginning. During the beginning of this course I put a few hurdles in place for myself to jump. They were by no means insurmountable, but they were by most means unnecessary. It leads me to wonder how many of my lower-achieving students in my ELA classes had the same knee—jerk reaction that led them to turning in sub-par work thinking it would be passable? Had I not identified this behavior before and let some students fall through the cracks? It has definitely given me a lot to think about and to apply for both myself, and the evaluation of my student’s work.
Overall, I am very glad to be starting my master’s journey with this course, as it has given me great tools to use for both my own teaching and my own learning. Here’s to a great journey, may it end well!
Benjamin Snitker. A master's candidate at Colorado State University-Global Campus.