Raising the Bar for Student Work

>>Robert: What a great
letter! What a great letter! Thumbs up, thumbs down.
What do you guys think? Now every one of you has that letter
in you, or your version of it.>>Robert: Because we use Model Work,
it shows students what they’re capable of doing, and it gives them an
idea of what’s expected of them, a concrete visual idea of
what excellence looks like.>>Robert: So are we ready? Let’s go.>>Robert: At Maplewood
Richmond Heights High School, we try to give students not
just the reading and the writing and the arithmetic, but we
also try to give them what that looks like in the real world. What can they expect
when they leave here?>>Kevin: How do you know
if you’re doing a good job in whatever career you’ve chosen? Oftentimes, it’s by looking at somebody who already is doing the job
well, and emulating them.>>Joe: Models of student work are
actual assignments that were done in previous years by students that
were the best ones that we had.>>Joe: Welcome, guys. It’s
a beautiful day for you. It is the day we start
the Conics Project! This is an outstanding
opportunity for you, but it will take a whole lot of effort!>>Joe: If you want a student to
actually achieve to a certain level, you have to show them what
that level looks like. Saying it through a rubric
or through a project sheet, it does not exemplify that to a kid.>>Natalie: Today, he
assigned the Conics Project. We choose an image and we have to
reproduce the image just by graphing it. We have to find every single
equation for every single line.>>Joe: Mulan has 654
equations in it. You have to hand-insert all that information. Yes, that face right there. That’s the face. I’ve set up a gallery
to show you a couple of things.>>Joe: One of the main things I like to show them is year-by-year
the progress that we’ve made. You can see the projects
getting more complex.>>Joe: You will be so insanely proud
of the product that you’ve produced.>>Robert: What does a
good letter look like? How do I start this letter? What
does it look like when it’s finished? Remember, the Model Work is there
to inspire you, it’s to show you–>>Robert: Social Studies, in particular,
write quite a bit and one of the things that we decided to show them was
what good writing looks like. It’s not something that Lincoln
wrote, or it’s Hemingway wrote, this was another 15-year-old.>>Chloe: Writing is a struggle for me. Getting the directions
doesn’t really help, but looking at somebody
else’s work helps a lot.>>Robert: Why don’t you guys,
as a table, look at the letters, figure out which one
did you like the best.>>Robert: We study the theory of Dr.
Jared Diamond about the emergence of farming, and how that
has changed humanity.>>Chloe: We’re writing
a letter to Dr. Diamond about if we agree with
him or we disagree. Last year’s ninth grade, they
had to do the same assignment. So we had a book of all
these letters that they did.>>Robert: I have them flip through
and read them to each other, and they start to formulate
their own opinion and ideas by looking at this Model Work.>>Student: I like this one,
because they give more details than the first one that we read before. What do you guys think?>>Katelyn: You can see how people put in like different sentences
or different citations.>>Robert: And it just gets them thinking about how they want to
write their letter.>>Katelyn: She put like what he said,
and made it like her own language.>>Robert: From there, then
they’re ready to write. One of the benefits for me as a teacher
is Model Work gives me another avenue to reach these kids. “I may not understand
what he asked me to do, but I can see what he’s
asking me to do!”>>Kevin: We want them to see
what excellence looks like, hold students to that level,
and a lot of times it’s getting through the mental block
of, “I can’t do that. It looks so hard!” When that becomes the norm in English
class, in Math class, in Science, then the competence of a student grows.>>Robert: No, that’s
good. That’s real good.

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