My American Government classes are wrapping up their first unit HyperDoc over the foundations and formations of government, and we’re slowly getting back into the swing of school! This year, I’m making a conscious effort to provide my students with more choice in how they demonstrate understanding and to also solicit their feedback on class assignments, activities, and instruction. My goal is to increase student engagement and make the learning environment awesome for all of my students. After all – it’s not about me, it’s about them!
Toward the end of last school year, I tried a unit-long HyperDoc in my Government classes. After we had finished the unit, I surveyed the students to gain their perspective on how well this new strategy had worked. The results were overwhelmingly positive! At the beginning of this school year, I introduced the modified version of the flipped classroom and the use of HyperDocs throughout the duration of the course. I shared with my students the success that classes last year had with the HyperDoc, and they were ready to get started!
As we progressed through the HyperDoc, I only gave my students one due date – to submit the entire HyperDoc. After reading their thoughts and reflections from their performance and experience with the first HyperDoc, I’ve decided to make a small change for the next unit.
Instead of only providing one due date for the end of the unit, my students asked for checkpoints to be assigned throughout the unit. I did this informally with the first HyperDoc, but will definitely make a point to assign specific due dates for sections of the HyperDoc. Students also asked for more formative assessment (in so many words) throughout the unit, and I’m happy to oblige!
Another goal that I have for this year is to provide my students with more choice in their activities and assignments. We will learn the standards, but how my students demonstrate their understanding of the standards isn’t set in stone. The “Apply” section of our HyperDocs will allow students to choose how they demonstrate what they’ve learned – some students prefer to write an essay explaining concepts, while others would rather create an infographic. Other options that my students can use are shown below:
The student response to the Show What You Know Bingo has been absolutely great! They’ve produced wonderful projects –> creative, unique, and something they can be proud of. WAAAY more fun than a worksheet! A student asked me this morning if we were going to “keep doing the bingo thing” for the rest of our units, and was pumped when I said yes!
I’m also making a conscious effort to solicit feedback from my students on a regular basis. The instructional strategies, activities, and assignments are, of course, designed to help my students learn. So … why wouldn’t I ask my students how things are going? My teacher-heart was swelling with pride as I read my students’ reflections because they actually REFLECTED on their learning, their effort, and the instruction I was providing. It was fabulous! One main pieces of feedback from these reflections was that my students, as I mentioned earlier, want checkpoints throughout the HyperDoc instead of one due date at the end. And … I’ll definitely make that happen!
Student choice and reflection are absolutely fantastic – it’s great to hear feedback from the most important people in the room. After all, it’s not about me – it’s about them!