By Tammy Berry, CSS Phys. Ed teacher
For more information on this project, please read the first blog post here.
I have now completed 100 grade 6 Garage Band (converted into iTunes) audio recordings. These audio recordings were placed on the desktops of students’ personal computers. Students received a mark on their written report card and then had an audio recording to replace the written comment for PE Term Two. These recording were about 3-4 minutes long in length.
- To get to know the students better (especially to find out what physical activity they were involved in outside of school)
- To help connect students to the Physical Education rubric and to clarify the PE expectations on a more consistent level
- To find out if students prefer the old method (written report card comment) to a verbal interview format.
- To ensure that I connected with EVERY student in my Grade 6 PE classes by term end.
After completing the interviews, I discovered a few things…
The benefits were as follows:
- The students were open-minded and willing to have conversations with me. Having positive students who are comfortable giving and accepting feedback was key.
- Students appeared to understand the language on the rubric (ie: Enhancing and Supporting Community, Contribution, Skill Acquisition, Connecting with Daily Life). It was quite an authentic way of assessing where they were at.
- It helped me focus on what the true goals of our PE program were. For example; encouraging students to be active both inside and outside of class, to apply sportsmanship and leadership qualities attitudes learned in class to their activities outside of class.
- It opened up more collaboration with my team teacher, Dean Schmeichel. We had numerous of conversations on teaching and learning in our PE classes.
- Students were given a voice and in turn could take on more ownership of their learning and understanding in PE class.
- It allowed me to get to know the students on a different level and also solidified the marks that I was already planning on giving them in class.
- It ensured that I had a quality conversation with each Grade 6 student by term end.
Some of the lessons learned were as follows:
- Converting the conversation to an Itune was much better than leaving it in Garage band. I learned this after my audio recordings with 100 grade 8 students in Term One. I realized that Garage Band can be edited, but once it is moved to an iTunes file, it can not.
- At times it took time away from time in gym class or away from the homeroom teacher’s class time.
- I found that more prep work was necessary. I had to get ready for the conversation more than when doing written report cards. I used a Google document to get self-assessments from the grade 6’s before I started each of the interviews. The students took a look at the rubric on Google Docs, then rated themselves on their efforts during the term. I would then assess if we were on the same page before the recorded conversation started.
- Keeping the interviews to 100 of my 300 students made it workable. I don’t think I am ready to take this on with all 300 of my PE students at one time. It gets quite redundant and tiring to have this many verbal interviews in a short time span.
- It was necessary having a lot of support from administration with respect to trying a new way of assessing and when it came to getting a sub day to finish the verbal recordings that remained. Also the support of homeroom teachers was necessary and appreciated. This was because I had to pull some students out of class one day for 5-7 minutes each in order to finish the recordings.