At. St. Gabriel’s we have been inspired to look at how we can deliver ‘holistic assessments’ through a training session by Claire Fairbairn from Sandersons Wynd Primary School in Tranent. Credits go to Claire and her work for Education Scotland for the idea – this blog post is just my take on it.
More can be read about holistic assessment here:
(courtesy of Education Scotland)
After attending Claire’s training I wanted to see how I could make the approach of holistic assessment work for my technology loving P6 class. I also wanted to create a meaningful task that would develop skills across literacy – drawing on various different experiences and outcomes.
I knew straight away that this would not be achieved in one lesson and would in fact require a whole term of work if I was to tackle this in a meaningful way. My class had recently been using podcasts to learn Spanish and science and they really enjoyed this experience. I am also an avid listener of podcasts myself. I had heard of other schools who had created podcasts so I thought why not bite the bullet and give it a try.
The next few of screenshots are what I came up with in terms of a plan:
Now, you may be thinking that this task brief is not detailed enough for a P6 class and you would be correct. I went over in great detail what podcasts include, what a ‘good one’ looks like, how to go about researching and writing a podcast. The above notes are just for my forward plan. The final products you will see at the end were the result of many weeks of hard work.
As you will see from the task though I left it very open for the children giving them a fair bit of choice over what their podcast would be about and sound like. Once the children were put into groups and asked to discuss their genre and subject matter then it was straight to work.
Over the next 6 Monday mornings we set about researching and writing our podcasts. Recording/editing them provided to be a bit more challenging and led us to go over time scale (mostly late nights for me scrambling to get them together)!
The children’s ability to work in teams and structure their projects really amazed me. As did their technological skills in using Google Team Drives and Google Collaborative Documents to gather notes and write their scripts.
Here is an example of a collaborative document:
You can see in the top right corner that two children’s avatars are looking at the same document. The children were able to work simultaneously on their own part of the script using Google Docs.
The children were also allowed to share their work with each other (and me) as well as keeping it very organised using ‘Team Drives’ from Google. This means there was no panic of saving/losing documents. Another bonus of using Google Drive was that the children were able to continue their work at home (even working together in separate houses).
Keeping track of the children’s work was so simple. I even included our curriculum framework for the children to remind them of what they were learning:
The children were really motivated by this task and worked together as teams very well which can -at times- be difficult.
The finished products were fantastic as a result of this excellent team work.
Here are some examples of scripts and notes:
Of course, this evidence is all also neatly saved in each groups Team drive in case I ever need it again.
To conclude, this was a very successful task which drew upon skills from all across literacy and technologies. The children were very motivated and engaged throughout the whole task – even choosing to work on it at home!
I also feel that the evidence of the final podcasts (as well as all notes and scripts) are a great way to evidence the children’s learning and it is easy to access for senior managers, parents, other staff and pupils without the fear of losing sheets of paper and jotters!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post on holistic assessment and maybe like me you will be inspired to try it out for yourself. I must admit I was rather reluctant to begin with thinking about the workload involved and whether or not the children would manage it. All these worries I had became insignificant when I listen to the final product. It wasn’t too difficult at all and I will absolutely do this with my next class (depending on stage).
Please feel free to use any of my resources as well:
To record you could either use ‘Audacity’ or any built in recording software. We actually used a free online voice recording software https://online-voice-recorder.com/
We looked at some of these kids podcasts for inspiration:
We also used Google Apps for Education for creating, storing and sharing documents. this included Google Drive, Google Classroom and Google Docs.
Please feel free to ask me any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and happy podcasting!