I am a big fan of allowing students the ability to choose how they want to show me evidence of their learning. Yes, most students prefer to do this in written form because that is what they are used to. However, every once in a while a student will produce something that really blows me away. While studying Ancient Greece we were discussing various forms of government. One of these was an oligarchy which is simply a form of government in which the decisions are made by a small group. My students typically giggle at the sound of oligarchy because they think it is something the can order off the menu at Olive Garden. During one of the activities students wanted to draw pictures of what they thought oligarchy would look like if it was a dish on the menu. Here is one of these pictures.
It is clear to me that this student understands the concept of an oligarchy through this picture. She clearly illustrated the small group of decision makers as the olives on the top of the dish. Then there is the “sauce” that represents the decisions that impact the rest of the population which she used noodles for. I don’t need her to take a test or write me an essay. The abstract manner in which she illustrated her understanding is more than adequate. As I plan my lessons and subsequent assessments, I try to constantly be looking for opportunities for students to show me their comprehension in a variety of ways.
How often do we allow students the choice to show us their learning in a different way? Must all learning be shown in the same manner?