Typhani Harris | May 2015

Coach’s Corner: You Make It

You Make It

As an instructional coach, I have been encouraging teachers to relinquish control and allow students to take ownership of their education.  This is not always an easy task, for the teacher or the students, but the more students take ownership the more invested they become.  Start with smaller responsibilities, for example class leadership where students are in charge of writing on the board, leading the class, running a discussion, etc.  Eventually, students will take charge of their learning and their knowledge, and as they do students can move to larger responsibilities.

The process by which the teacher steps into the facilitator role is one of the characteristics of a 21st century classroom.  One way to hand over the responsibility to the students is by allowing them to create their own projects/assessments to demonstrate mastery of standards.

The You Make It strategy places the plans in the hands of the students, yes it might be scary, but it allows students to problem solve by having them justify what would best demonstrate their knowledge.

Begin with the standards.

Based on the standards have students decide how they feel they can best demonstrate that they understand the concepts.

Next build the project/assessment.

Have students design the process for their project or test that will demonstrate their knowledge.

Then create the rubric.

Have students decide how the project/test should be evaluated by designing the rubric that will be used for the assessment.

Finally complete the task.

Have students demonstrate their knowledge by completing the project/task/ assessment they created.

It is so important for students to take ownership of their knowledge and education. Since this will be relatively new to the students, it is vital that we guide them in their assessment designs, and provide probing questions that will extend their projects to meet our objectives. Allowing students to decide how they will demonstrate what they know places the learning in their hands, which is where it should be.

For this task I have students complete a form adapted from the lesson plan template used by the dance educators of the NYDOE.  Although this form is specialized for dance, it can easily be modified for any subject.

Coach's Corner, You Make It, Education Closet

I also like to have students build a complete rubric wherein to assess their project.  I use this template to have students begin composing their rubric:

Project Planner Rubric, Coach's Corner, Education Closet

This is a great opportunity for students to take control of their eduction by determining the best way they can demonstrate the standards and choose their own adventure.  Not only does this place learning into the hands of the students but it also reduces our stress and work load, plus it promotes 21st century skills.  Resources

Preacher or Facilitator: article on placing learning in the hands of the students
Project Planner template
Project Rubric template

Next Week: Secrets of a Dance Teacher
History of Dance Part III

Teaching history and theory of dance within our dance classes is so important.  However, with the multitude of things we need to complete, how do we fit it in and how do we determine what is most important to teach?  Over the next couple months, I will be sharing full lesson plans with assessments for history of Ballet, Jazz, and Modern that can be used immediately.  These plans take roughly a week to complete so the students get an opportunity to learn about the history without taking too much time from the practicum of the studio environment.

About the Author

Dr. Typhani Harris, author of Putting the Performance in Performance Task and Stop Teaching, brings over 2 decades of educational experience to The Institute. Originally a high school English Language Arts teacher, Dr. Harris transitioned into a dance educator who cultivated an award-winning collegiate style dance education program at a public school in California. Prior to joining the Institute, she was an educational leader and instructional coach specializing in preparing new teachers in secondary urban schools.  As the Executive Director of Academic Affairs, Dr. Harris maintains courses, conferences, and the accredited certification program at The Institute.