Differentiation in the classroom is a given, and one way to differentiate is by changing up the product for different level/interest of the learner. Of course, if you are allowing open-ended assignments, you want to make sure that expectations are very clear – or who knows what you might end up with! but when done correctly, assigning hands-on projects that match student interest or learning styles can produce some amazing representations of the learning goals!
I learned this very early on when I decided to assign a group of third graders a project in which they were expected to construct a choice of a poem, diorama, or bumper sticker. I received a wide range of projects, from the one that exceeded any type of expectation I had to the one that was obviously done that morning (or maybe even during lunch). Of course, I stopped to reflect on how I had conveyed the expectations of the assignment – and quickly I realized that self-reflection of my own teaching was a good thing – lol!
The next time, I made sure to have a rubric ready for each of the projects, as well as a sample I had created myself so that students were able to have a clear goal in mind as a base point from which to start their own. The second time around, the assignments were much better and I was able to grade accordingly knowing I had set forth very clear and reasonable expectations to the students.
You can create rubrics for learning objectives, behavior, cooperative activities, or anything else you can come up with that needs clearly set parameters. If you are at a loss for where to begin with your rubric, here are a few sites that have pre-made rubrics ready for your use and/or blank template generators for you to create your own:
Teachnology – this site has a bunch of links to various generators as well
Rubistar – always my personal favorite and go-to rubric generator
As part of my Jungle Theme Classroom Essentials Set, there is a blank rubric which allows for you to customize – and I have decided to share it with you today.
I would love to hear how you have used rubrics in your classroom too! Feel free to leave a comment!