Rubrics in the Gifted Project Based Classroom

As many of you know from some of my past posts, I am trying hard to create an awesome Project Based Learning environment in my classroom. At times it runs smooth and sometimes its rough waters all around. For the last two projects my students have done I have allowed them to choose their project from a Choice Menu. They can work with a partner or two, or they work by themselves.

This week, I have planted the seed in my students that the next one will be a whole class project. That project will be chosen by majority vote. I will place three or four projects summaries up on the board and students will choose the one they have an interest in. Which ever one has the most the votes is the one we will explore as a class.

What I really like about these projects my students do with a partner or as a whole class is developing the rubrics. Designing rubrics is hard. It takes time, and it takes some anaylsis of what their project is asking them to do. When we disect their project we spend some time on designing the rubric that will be used to assess their work. Here is a synopisis of what we do.

  • We break down what their project is asking of them
  • Then we get the most important two or three parts of the project to be assessed and make them the category headings.
  • We decide what it would take to get an ‘A’.
  • Teir down what it would take to get lower grades (B-F)
  • Repeat for each Category (I have my students do 2 categories, I have two categories done for them which is presentation delivery and classtime/prep time)

As a side note:  it is always interesting to me what my students find in their projects important assessment points. Sometimes what they see and I see don’t always collide. When that happens I have them defend their stance and nine times out of ten they do, and it works.

I have to really thank Todd Stanley and his book Project Based Learning for Gifted Students: A Handbook for the 21st Century Classroom. Without this book I wouldn’t be able to truly figure out how to set up and run a PBL classroom. If you haven’t read it, I would suggest you do. You will not regret it.

I used much of the information from that book to make a Google slide show that I feel helps to explain to teachers what I mean by designing rubrics. You may make some for your classroom projects, which will help you when teaching that design process to your students.

To access the Google slide show just click on the picture below.  Feel free to use it and share it.

Rubrics  2014 TA Presentation   Google Drive

Do you use rubrics in your classroom? What do your students get out of the rubrics? Have you ever let your students design their assessment tool like a rubric? If so, I would like to hear from you. Let me know what your experience was like.

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