We were coming to the end of chapter 12, with focus on the concepts of density and buoyancy. I had my teacher lead review activities and assignments ready to deliver, preparing students for the end of the chapter test. I was on my commute to school, listening to one of my technology podcast, as they had a long discussion on the power of retelling a story. I translated that to retelling what the student has learned in this chapter. The question was how?
So I was working double time to create this new lesson for the current school day. I called the assignment “Chapter 12 Learning”, using Google Classroom to posted and for students to submit their work. I kept the directions simple and letting their motivation with using their technology to differentiate the final product.
Displayed on classroom projected screen with our daily agenda, “Chapter 12 Learning” assignment and “Demonstrate and Share your understanding of Density, Average Density and Buoyancy”. Many hands raised and asking “How do I do that”. I took 7 minutes to model using the device tools Screencastify and YouTube Video Editor. I was able to model in about 4 minutes by the last science block the next day.
I kept sharing that their video could be very direct, simply record and submit the Screencastify video link. Of course they could use YouTube Video Editor to personalize and jazz it up. Some worked alone and others paired up, finding a quiet space to plan, capture video and edit. There was a cool buzz of excitement as I went from group to group. I heard students effectively explaining the chapter concepts and many times if not hitting the target, the group partner would give the correct definition.
The next time together we viewed the short videos. Some were much like you would expect, reading from notes and quite scripted. Most were quite amazing as they showed their creativity and a few were borderline professional video creations. As we watched the videos, we shared the learning one last time before test day. There were many comments “Next Time” and then discussing how they were going to make their video even better WHEN we do this again.
The proof’s in the pudding! The quality, effectiveness or truth of something can only be judged by putting it into action or to its intended use. It was time for the chapter 12 concepts test, the same summative assessment I have used and tracked scores for the past 4 years. The results this time were very different from past years, with a classroom average 12% points higher than any previous classroom average.
I have always known the power of images and video. Pairing with retelling what students have learned can have even greater impact. Then sprinkle with tools like Screencastify and YouTube Video Editor, can unleash a much different level of student motivation and learning. Many have already added this assignment to their middle school eFolio. I know I learned so much from this assignmen