Sunday, February 27, 2011

Flat Classroom Final Day

Vicki and Julie were right. This is one conference you want to stay at until the end (and not just for the door prizes). The final day of the conference began as frenzied as the rest. Dr. Leigh Zeitz, Andrew Chambers, Apple Distinguished Educators, and UNI grad students juried the teacher's projects in order to determine the top three, which would be presented at the closing ceremony.

We used a rubric to assess teachers' progress in creating a Flat Classroom Project. Since the teachers did not have the rubric while they were creating their projects, we were a little hesitant at first to use it as the criteria. We decided to go ahead and use the rubric as written using the "low" score of one as the base from which they could exceed expectations. Since there was one mix-up, we found that we were applying the rubric fairly. Andrew and Farrah accidentally assessed the same group as Deb and I. The scores were 40 and 41, therefore we felt confident that although most scores were very low, they were an accurate reflection of the work.

Some of the teachers didn't really think so though when we reviewed the rubric with them and gave them feedback. I understand. I like to get "good grades," but this wasn't about grades. It was about feedback on creating something to really use in class. Many teachers said that they were indeed planning to use their creation, and some didn’t realize they were supposed to. All in all, for a first run I think the Action Based/Work Product conference went well.

The closing ceremony was moving and entertaining. Not only did the top three teacher teams present, the top six student groups produced their final videos. The videos were impressive in content and execution. Many students stood in front of their creation and expressed their gratitude for the chance to collaborate with students from other cultures. I hope they keep in touch, like I plan on keeping in touch with the wonderful people I met during this conference.

Thank you to everyone including Julie Lindsay, Vicki Davis, Steve Madsen, Andrew Chambers, Madeleine Brookes, Bernajean Porter, Frank Guttler, and especially Dr. Leigh Zeitz, Kathy Klink-Zeitz and my UNI cohorts. I feel honored and privileged to have worked with you all. It was inspiring, challenging and fun. I hope we can do it again next year!

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