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Is this rich enough for you?

As a staff, we've been talking a lot about rich tasks, success criteria, and student-centred learning lately.  For a while now I've been really trying to get away from Socratic lessons, and being the only expert in the room, and got the idea from The Innovator's Mindset to have my students create "X in 60 s" videos.  Long story short, the example in the book came from a biology teacher who returned to school after a leave and didn't want to just reuse the same overhead transparencies again.  She had her students create "Mitosis in 60 s" videos instead, and found that students understood the concepts much better because they'd had to learn it well enough to explain so concisely.

Early in the school year, I tried this with my grade 12 IB biology class, and asked them to produce a video entitled, "Natural Selection in 60 s".  The videos weren't explicitly assessed, and I loved that they didn't all produce the same video or even use the same tools.  The content was assessed as an IB exam-style question, and in general, students answered it well.  I call that a success - with any luck, there will be a question on the May IB exam and my students will rock it.

Moving forward, I decided to try it with my grade 11's, also an IB biology class.  They don't write their IB exam until May 2018, and we're not so focussed on that gigantic exam in this course, so I thought the videos themselves should be assessed (though I'll probably put a question on their January exam).  My student teacher taught the lesson on mitosis, but before we got into Mendelian genetics, they had to know about meiosis, too.  So... "Meiosis in 60 s" was born!  As a group, we co-constructed the assessment criteria using an idea I got here (the pre-calculus example, not the grade 2 writing example).

What did we do?  I found three examples of "Mitosis in 60 s" videos on Youtube.  After the first video, pairs of students made lists of characteristics of a good explanatory video, and then we viewed the second video as a group.  The paired students added to their lists before we viewed the third one.  Larger groups then compiled lists, and by the end, the whole class had decided on "characteristics of a good explanatory video" and created the checklist that would be used to assess them.  Here's a link to the Google Slideshow we used - the slides at the end were used for collaborating on the criterion lists.
The class during different stages of the activity:

Close-up on our criteria:

If I do say so myself... these videos were even better than the first!  If you'd like to see them, I posted links to most of them using the hashtag #ibbiovideos on Twitter.


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