I'm a heavy user of Google Classroom, and I quite enjoy the various posting features offered within the Google Classroom stream. They're all great. But I can tell you from a teacher's perspective, however, that the main thing I actually use Classroom for on a daily basis is issuing lesson plans to my classes.
So what's the problem?
Sadly, Google Classroom doesn't actually offer a "lesson" option. The available posting options currently made available within Google Classroom include questions, announcements, or assignments.
Thus, for the teacher who wants to post a lesson, one of the three available posting options needs to be adapted to this purpose. Personally, I find the "assignment" option to be the best fit for a lesson because it allows me to give the lesson a title, and it allows me to associate the lesson with a date (which is a must). The main problem, however, is the fact that using the "assignment" option gives the impression that the student has something due for every single class... and this isn't necessarily the case.
Moreover, when I do issue an actual assignment, it invariably finds itself hiding amongst dozens of previously - and subsequently - posted lessons. As a result, parents and students do not pay nearly as much attention to my assignments as they likely would if my assignments were not hiding amongst so many other similar looking postings.
I hope that Google Classroom enthusiasts everywhere will join me in encouraging Google to create a "lesson" posting option in Classroom. In my view, such an option could be very similar to the current "assignment" option: it could simply be titled "Lesson" as opposed to "Assignment."
I would also point out that the utility of such a lesson posting option could be increased if the "lesson" post could give the teacher the option of associating a submission with the post. I say this because some lessons do indeed require students to submit some work, while other lessons do not require anything to be submitted at all.
If such a Google Classroom feature were to be made available, then students and parents would be able to clearly delineate between actual assignments and the lessons that teachers such as myself post using the current "assignment" option. In other words, parents would no longer mistake daily lessons as overdue assignments, and overdue assignments would no longer find themselves camouflaged as old lesson plans.
Google, if you would consider doing this, then I think you would not only increase the utility and usability of Google Classroom, but you would bring Google Classroom one important step closer to serving as a full-fledged course management system.
A Useable Achievement Chart for the Ontario Curriculum, Grades 11 and 12, Canadian and World Studies, 2015
If you're like me, you often find yourself wishing the Ontario Ministry of Education provided a more user-friendly version of their curriculum documents. The Achievement Charts found in our curriculum guidelines are certainly no exception. These charts tend to be excessively wordy and repetitive, to the point where they become so dense and cluttered that students and parents can find it difficult to comprehend the relationship between the various categories of knowledge and skills, the achievement levels, and all of the associated descriptors. Moreover, the document is long (usually two pages), and is published as a Adobe Acrobat file, which is dreadfully difficult to copy and paste from.
Thus, I often take it upon myself to produce a streamlined version of the achievement charts found in our curriculum documents so that I can use the charts in my work.
Linked to the bottom of this page, you will find such a streamlined version of the 2015 Ontario Curriculum, Grades 11 and 12, Canadian and World Studies achievement chart. This version of the chart is a one-page document that teachers can readily use for assessing their students.
A Few Points to Note:
The original achievement chart in the 2015 Ontario Curriculum, Grades 11 and 12, Canadian and World Studies did not include a Level 0 to specifically address a non-existent level of skill or application. I have added this level because, otherwise, when entering an actual mark that is between 1 to 4 in a grade manager, the lowest level of achievement (a Level 1) would be calculated as a 25% grade. I found that adding a Level 0 to be necessary when actually recording these marks in a grade manager for my Classwork Portfolio, and so I highly recommend employing the five-scale version of the Achievement Chart.
I should also point out that Page 41 of the 2015 Ontario Curriculum, Grades 11 and 12, Canadian and World Studies states that specific “qualifiers” are used with the descriptors in the achievement chart to describe student performance at each of the four levels of achievement – the qualifier “limited” is used for level 1; “some” for level 2; “considerable” for level 3; and a “high degree of” or “thorough” for level 4. Hence, achievement at level 3 in the Thinking category for the criterion “use of planning skills” would be described in the achievement chart as “[The student] uses planning skills with considerable effectiveness.”
Examples of the various categories of knowledge and skills:
The original achievement chart in the 2015 Ontario Curriculum, Grades 11 and 12, Canadian and World Studies contains a number of examples within the chart itself. Those examples were removed from the version of the achievement chart that I have made available here in an effort to both streamline the chart and to more clearly delineate the connection between the various categories of knowledge and skills and the descriptors associated with the various levels of achievement.
Nonetheless, I do present the various examples that were originally contained within the achievement chart. I have simply separated them out from the chart itself and then presented them on the back of the page. The examples I am speaking of are presented below:
Thus, I have modified the achievement chart in an effort to produce a highly useable, one-page achievement chart that acknowledges all levels of skill and achievement from 0% to 100%. Moreover, I have distilled this modified version of the achievement chart into both PDF and MS Word files. These files are linked below. Please feel free to use and modify them as you see fit.
The New Learner Lab
Exploring the ever-changing, often challenging, and always controversial world of teaching.