Summer Teaching Institute Reflections, day 3

July 22, 2015 by Joshua
in Creativity, Education, Leadership

Day 3

Today’s agenda:

  • Nature versus nurture interactive exercise
  • Unit flow
  • Solo work on unit plan
  • Talk about rubrics
  • Described deliverables: Friday we’ll present our unit plans to the group. Tomorrow we’ll do some exercises but mostly work on the unit plans
  • More solo work on unit plan

Unit flow

Do they know what’s coming next?

If not, maybe you lead them through steps with exercises, materials, data, etc.

If so, are they figuring out what to do?

You plan stages. Students need a rationale to do it, why should they care?

Can work backward from what you want them to learn and create exercises or other way around

Useful to break big projects into many checkpoints.

How will they get feedback before they submit? Peer review of almost finished product useful.

[My notes for myself: In entrepreneurship and leadership, life has no finish points. Evaluation of final project is artificial construct of school. You often have deadlines and presentations, but generally in life you keep developing your work after each deadline.]

Reflections: you can do them in many ways: written, in-person meetings (what did you learn in doing it, what would you do differently, what should next years’ students know, … they have a bank of answers)

How can students’ work affect people outside the classroom.

If many students choose the same projects or you can grade with an answer key, probably not a useful project

How do you handle students who don’t get it? How can students see peers’ progress?

Can you collaborate with an outside organization?

We did an exercise to write our unit topic in a circle in the middle of a page and a couple essential questions in circles connected to it, then to have three or four others write essential questions in circles connected to the circles on the page so far. It led to useful questions I wouldn’t have thought of.

Work time

We worked an hour or so on our unit plans with the teachers helping people in turn.

The work is hard—it’s hard to focus for a long time on something with so many parts that all connect. You have to come up with exercises, questions, rubrics, … You have to order things. You keep losing track of what part of the course you put in what section.

Generally it feels like it’s coming together.

We’re working from a unit plan template.


A rubric is the standards you set for measuring the quality of students’ work. It gives them direction and standards.

SLA uses five categories for its rubrics.

  • Design
  • Application
  • Knowledge
  • Presentation
  • Process

SLA teachers are so used to these five words that they can’t think of creating a rubric without thinking of them.

Describe what would meet expectations (like a B or B+). To get an A they have to do more. They have to figure it out.

They gave us an exercise to look at past SLA unit plans and create rubrics for them. They noted it’s hard.

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