Many times during my teaching career, (and now as an instructional and transformational coach), I find myself talking with educators, parents, and students about alternative ways to allow students to show what they know -- ways that differ vastly from the (often boring) traditional pencil and paper mode that many of us are accustomed to. 21st Century learning and tools afford us so many more interesting, creative, and fully descriptive and engaging ways to demonstrate knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, evaluation, and synthesis (Dr. Benjamin Bloom) of our learning.
When coaching, it also comes as no surprise when a teacher, parent, or student says, “Wow! I never thought of using THAT as a way to show learning!” as I suggest alternative products. The research on voice and choice in learning is very clear -- when students are given both, they are much more vested in their learning. And yet, we don’t always have a list of possible alternative products at our fingertips, so we may miss opportunities to differentiate.
Recently in my reading, I came across this outstanding blog and graphic that is filled with alternative product ideas, and I’d like to share it here with you: 101 Creative Ways to Show What You Know.
The implications for all kids are tremendous, particularly for those whose gifts and talents are in creativity, the visual and performing arts, leadership, or other non-traditional areas, because schools generally pay much closer attention to gifts and talents in the intellectual and academic areas.
Imagine that you are a highly creative student. What if you could demonstrate your knowledge through a comedy routine, a soap opera, a cartoon or comic strip?
Imagine that you are a visual or performing artist. What if you could demonstrate your knowledge by dancing, or singing, or creating a pop-up book, or a rap, or a photo?
Imagine that your talent lies in the area of leadership. What if you could demonstrate your knowledge by creating an advertisement or commercial, a speech, an interview, a debate, or a persuasive argument?
Imagine that you are gifted in the use of technology. What if you could demonstrate your knowledge by creating a voki, a sportscast, a podcast, or a powerpoint or prezi?
The possibilities are endless, and the payoff is very real.
So, as a teacher, a parent, or a student, I challenge you. Download the graphic from the linked article and post it somewhere prominent. Use it often. Can you think of different ways to demonstrate learning? Which ones appeal to you, and why? Which ones would appeal to a specific student or students, and why? What does this tell you about teaching and learning? How can you advocate for differentiated products? How can you evaluate differing products? And, most of all, WHY is this important for talent development?
As always, I hope that this foray into other ideas, and then linking them to the gifted perspective, has made you think. I welcome hearing from you!
Past President, WATG
Gifted in Perspective
A column designed to link the gifted perspective to other perspectives, and to make you think.