After I blabbed at her for a few minutes on an afternoon dog-walk, she reminded me to consider what's really important: critical-thinking skills > factual information. Accountability for video-watching is still important, but perhaps we had over-emphasized the assessments of understanding facts.
The next day, Jon Bergmann appeared on a #reflectiveteacher chat. I seized the moment to ask him:
That can mean various things and depends on amount of class time, age/skills of students, and video content. If you have 11th graders in a block-scheduled Chemistry class, then you might individually verify students' well-formatted notes of formulas and chemical reactions. In my case, I have short class periods (45 minutes), middle-school students who are still learning note-taking strategies, and ~10-minute history videos that tell a story and/or explain a concept. So "checking notes" might vary from assignment to assignment, and I have little class time to do so.
I tried an informal self-assessment by displaying 5 sentences on the screen, labeled A B C D E. The direction was "Write the letter of each true sentence" by thinking and working independently. They could use their notes to help decide, and meanwhile I walked around the room to observe. Who did/didn't have a sheet of notes? By now I know which students need an extra look, and which can probably fly through the task. I was also looking at the letters they wrote. "I hope you chose A and C," I announced after about 2 minutes. "If not, then your notes might not be good enough." Then I assigned seat partners to rewrite sentences B, D, and E to make them correct. We spent class time that day and the next day to synthesize, simulate, and discuss the video topics.
The "real" assessment came two days later. I will write more about the details another time. These questions were higher up the Bloom's taxonomy scale than my quizzes used to be. They are also "non-Googleable" so I allowed students to use their notes. "Why were some people afraid for America's future in the 1780s?" (Yes, you get some hits when you Google that question, but the articles are unfriendly to 8th-grade readers, even the Wikipedia link.)
My experiment was marred by external factors. We had two unexpected and consecutive snow days on Friday the 5th and Monday the 8th, and this coming week is a school vacation. That killed the intended flow from homework video to class activities to basic assessment and beyond. I must wait until the end of the month to restart the process.
Below you can see the diagram that I used to illustrate these ideas for my students:
(I used the pull-down screen to hide the top half while I reviewed this portion.)
I will blog soon about the "ongoing Assignment Choice." Basically that is the sponge activity + culminating project + flypaper: a creative, self-directed item that is never truly finished.
I must sign off now. The family and I are flying to Florida for a few days -- yay!! Just wanted to jot all this down before I forget the experience.