It’s been a while since I wrote a PBL post and the timing is right because I am creating a PD for our teachers on teaching and assessing school-wide learning outcomes (SWLO’s). SWLO’s are those things we want our students to know how to do outside of the content specific knowledge.
Our next two school PD’s will encompass exploring these learning outcomes. We will look at what Manor New Tech High School uses for learning outcomes and what that school expects of their 9th graders for each of these. That level of expectation needs to be what we expect from our 8th graders as they leave us to head to 9th grade. Then we will break each one down to specifics that we will expect from our 6th graders and our 7th graders.
When students come to us (from their elementary schools) we will teach them what we expect our students to be able to do with the 21st Century skills. Then we will increase our expectations each year so that the average student entering high school will be at a level that our high schools can then hone as the students mature and become working members of society.
Once our students have been taught what they should be demonstrating it will be time for our teachers to assess how well our students are doing with these skills. Rubrics will need to be created. And teachers will want to create anchor charts or other visual aids for students to see every day.
We are focused on creating a culture of collaboration and reflection at DMS. Each of our learning outcomes is a part of this foundational culture. The difficulty is helping the teachers understand this so that they are able to build the culture within their students. We will be exploring how other New Tech Network schools teach and assess their learning outcomes.
This process will take time. We will put something in place this Spring and tweak it over the Summer. Reflection will lead to refinement and we will revisit these often over the years. Within a few years all of our current students will be populating our high schools. And when the class of 2020 graduates and heads to college, students from Manor will be well positioned to be leaders in the classroom and in the workforce.