For that reason, I have made two additions to my classroom website.
- A step-by-step directions blog, and
- A sample finished product blog.
Before starting a new lesson, my students are asked to open the "New Assignments" blog and find the lesson that we are beginning. Here is where it is located (click on the image to open a new tab with this page):
This blog is my "Step-by-Step Directions Blog." I will be trying to explicitly type out all of my directions, including any links that my students will need in order to successfully complete the activity. We will start each activity by going over these directions and the students will refer to them as they need to on their own.
Here is a sample entry (click on the image to go to the page):
Before students start working, we open my pretend "Student ePortfolio." In it, I show them what I've created as an example to get them started. Although this might take some of their creativity away on the front end, it ultimately calms them and makes them more confident to take risks.
Here is where you can find my sample ePortfolio with pretend entries in it (click on the image to open the page):
In my Sample ePortfolio, I go through the actions that I want my students to go through, but I don't always complete each task. This is valuable to me for many reasons, including troubleshooting any problems that my students may encounter and identifying tasks that can be differentiated through gentle nudges or extra support. This is valuable to my students because they are able to see what the final product should look like, but with their personalized touches added.
Here is what a sample entry looks like before my students start the activity (click on the image to open the page):
In order to meet the needs of all of my students, these activities are rarely due at the end of the period. Rather, I often give them a week or two to complete it. That being said, I remind them daily of the importance of finishing these on their own, at Homework Club, or when they finish other assignments in class. I give a final due date after I feel that most students have completed the activity.
When I assign a due date, I also select an "Exemplar" to post at the end of the directions for those who are struggling to check out. Students can use the exemplar as a model for their own final reflections or to see the layout of the post. Having their blog post used as an exemplar is considered a strong compliment according to my students. They also know that I read their posts regularly and evaluate their work.
Here is a sample post with an exemplar at the end (click on the image to open the page):
I make sure to "mix it up" when choosing exemplars. I don't want any student to feel left out or to feel perfect! Let me know what you think about this post! Type your comments below and I will reply back! Thanks!