For my project on a school garden, I plan to have students keep a learning log and to contribute to the development of a class garden website. I have come to really appreciate the role of a blog (or learning log) in learning. While it incorporates much of what can be gained by activities such as journaling, it also opens the door for collaboration. Student ideas and thoughts become visible. The hope is that this will give them a bit of extra motivation in terms of the effort they put into their work. My plan is to have students write into the blogs on a regular basis so that they can develop a thorough record of their work. I will provide some specific topics for them to write about (to keep the focus on content to some degree) and provide other “open” writing opportunities. I see this as a good balance for students as they learn to track their own learning.
The class website provides another opportunity for assessment and for students to show off their work. The site will be developed by the entire class and will be public. My hope is that students will see the value in what they are doing (developing a school garden) and will be excited about the chance to share their experiences and to guide other schools by creating a blueprint that can be followed. They will lay out the “how’s” and why’s” of school gardens.
Looking at the guidelines for assessment provided, I think that these, along with the potential of having students create public service announcement, meet the criteria of being an authentic form of assessment. Hopefully, my vision can be realized as we work through the project.