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Using Digital Projects with "At-Risk" Third Graders


“Last year I was not smart. This year I am. I don’t know why but I like it.” 

This quote was written by one of my third graders in his autobiography in November of 2009. Very simply, it epitomizes my goal for my classroom. 

This student entered my room in 09-10 school year.  That year I was given a class of third grade students who ranged from one to three years below grade level. I tell you this with hesitation because I wouldn't want anyone walking in my classroom door to even have the thought that these students struggled at some point. Rather, I would want them to think the opposite – here is a class of above grade level students.  In order to reach that lofty goal, I knew I had to do something beyond the normal classroom.

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<p>Hi</p> <p>This is a great reflective resource that shows the benefits of engaged students, particularly those we know are struggling. It was helpful that you talked about the challenges, as well as the successes, because there are always challenges with teaching, and often, more challenges when you throw technology into the mix. We're not quite there with the seamless use of technology, unfortunately.</p> <p>I think one question that is sure to come up is: how did you assess the work the students were doing? Was there some assessment tool that you used to keep the students on track and to gauge progress in their writing, reading and talking skills? And if so, could you share that rubric or process? (And was technology proficiency part of that assessment?)</p> <p>Thanks for sharing your work and your students with us.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kevin</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Thank you for the comments. As far as assessment goes, I never specifically give grades or rubrics for the news show. I don't want them to think of it as work - it is meant to be fun and the students don't realize they are practicing so many important skills. In fact, the students actually end up assessing and critiquing themselves every morning when they watch the show air to the whole school which helps them improve even more than my comments ever could. I then assess their progress during the rest of the day in our reading, writing, and other subjects. For the digital storytelling projects I always give a rubric or points chart that I use to assess the project. Each one changes depending on what I want to focus on the most at that time. I never specifically assess the students' technology proficiency during the year. However, I definitely see the ability level of the class getting greater through the level of tech complexity in the projects they are tackling.