I recently had the wonderful opportunity to watch Sandra Herbst as she co-constructed criteria with two classrooms in a neighbouring school division. One class was Gr. 1/2 and the other was a 5/6 class. Both lessons were on writing, and it was so awesome to have the chance to see how co-constructing criteria could look at different levels. The series of instructional steps was similar, and could be done at any level for any subject.
I have spent time with this group of students before, so I know them well. To prepare for the lesson, I decided on my topic (negative use of technology) and did some research so that I had some facts to back up my opinion. I made a list of the criteria and the research, and kept this "cheat sheet" beside me during the lesson. Here's how the lesson went:
Co-constructing criteria is all about giving voice to our students. In Sandra Herbst's words, "What counts? What matters? What's important?" If we had done a brainstorming session without the modeling, students may have come up with some of the criteria about what to do when writing an opinion piece, but I doubt that the list would have been as complete, nor as valuable. When thinking aloud, we are gifting our students with the language that we want them to use. It's all about metacognition, about making the invisible visible.
Travelling Curriculum Support Teacher