1. Why is continuous assessment important in an inquiry-oriented activity to enhance student learning?
Thinking is an active process and needs to be a continuous process. It is not something someone can just turn on and off. In inquiry oriented activities thinking processes do not end with the activity, but instead the ideas you nurture during the activity must continue on in the student. Coffman suggests this as a “refreshing way to evaluate student progress” (p.112). Also while continually assessing students both the teacher and student know where he or she stands and understands the material. It also helps them to determine if the desired results of the lesson are being achieved.
2. Identify three different assessments that you could use to determine if students understand an important topic within an inquiry-oriented activity.
- Formal Project Assessments – Presentations, tests, quizzes, projects, activities
- Informal Teacher Observations – questioning techniques, small and large group work, think-pair-share
- Self-Assessments – Portfolios and learning logs
3. Why are benchmarks important when planning for assessments within an inquiry-oriented activity?
Because the benchmarks are what you want your students to understand at specific points in the activity. These need to be determined ahead of time so the teacher can organize and plan the lesson accordingly. This is a good time to identify essential questions and learning activities that students should participate in and answer. It is important for students to understand concept A before moving on to concept B. Thus benchmarks are the rungs in the ladder so students can climb and achieve their goals.
4. How do rubrics improve student learning in an inquiry-oriented activity?
Coffman summarizes rubrics as, “a concise measurement tool to identify what is important for students to accomplish and ultimately to understand about the activity itself” (p.122). By providing students with a rubric it allows them to see what is important in the activity and what needs to be concentrated on. Students also know the order and amount of time they need to put to a certain part of the activity. Plus the best part is that there are no surprises for the student or teacher. Problems are eliminated over what a teacher wants to expects. It’s all already spelled out.
1. Identify learning objectives that emphasize Bloom’s taxonomy.
Coffman’s book provides a great chart of how to incorporate Bloom’s Taxonomy and Technology Integration. Table 7.1 on page 130 is a great reference. Specifically, learning objectives that allow students to remember, understand, apply, and analyze provide the best incorporation of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
- Use information
- Execute Tasks
2. How does your inquiry activity emphasize 21st century skills?
I am trying to incorporate 21st century skills into my inquiry activity as seamlessly as possible. I am thinking about having students write blogs as learning logs throughout the entire process. Then the culminating activity will involve some form of technology I have not quite decided what I want the students to do. It might be like an infomercial or public announcement. But I think I will allow students to choose between 3 options. My inquiry activity is in the form of a Web Quest, so students will be involved with looking at websites and becoming familiar with how to conduct research.
3. Determine how you can integrate technology into your inquiry-oriented lesson to highlight collaboration and communication skills.
Students will be working in groups so they will be able to collaborate. I might also consider teaming up with another classroom and communicating through blogs to compare and contrast ideas. Plus if I could find a classroom in modern day Greece or Rome it might be neat for students to see what it is like to live there now. And what these students think about the history behind their cities.
Coffman, T. (2009). Engaging Students Through Inquiry Oriented Learning and Technology. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Education.