In my AP Calculus course, I wanted students to look back on past work and connect it to new knowledge. Reflection is key to learning, and I wanted to create a project to help students strengthen their understanding of the relationships between “old” and “new” material. I wanted students to go back to material we had done in early chapters and reflect on how their understanding of these problems has evolved and grown.
I decided to structure a project to focus on having students:
- reflect on new connections formed
- document how their understandings have grown
- capture strategies to maximize their learning
I asked students to use Sutori to document this work. Sutori easily allowed students to capture artifacts they wanted to highlight — whether it be embedded content (ie: Flipgrid videos), audio recordings, images, or text. In addition to including the elements they chose to highlight, they could use text captions to describe why they chose that piece of work. These text captions were an important part of having students capture their reflective process.
Project Purpose, Goals, and Intended Outcomes
This project forced students to not only look back at old work but to be selective about what they chose and why they chose it. They needed to think deeply about their initial approach to the problem and think through:
- what knowledge had not yet been gained when completing this task initially that you now have? how has this information taken your understanding to a new level?
- if you were to redo this problem now, would you use the same approach? or have we learned something new that would allow you to come up with a more elegant or simpler solution?
- if you solved the problem algebraically, can you represent your solution graphically now? or vice versa? how do you interpret each to represent the same solution?
Beyond capturing individual problems, students were also asked to do a detailed reflection and goal setting:
- what did you do well? how will you ensure that you continue to make a habit of this?
- what could use improvement? what action steps will you take to boost future outcomes?
- what strategies have you learned that work well for you as a learner? how can you apply this to your future studies?
Highlighting Student Exemplars
Students just turned in their Sutori projects, and I could not have been more pleased by their final submissions. I wanted to share two examples:
- AP Calculus Trimester 2 Project — Student Exemplar 1
- AP Calculus Trimester 2 Project — Student Exemplar 2
(please note that these projects are not perfect and have some errors; they have not made any revisions to these projects and I had not given them any feedback prior to submissions)
Now that students have received detailed feedback from me on their projects, they will make corrections to their work. In Sutori, everything is auto-saved and auto-shared with me (since I have set up a Sutori class), so there is no passing back and forth of information, which is great. Since I am on a premium account, I have access to more detailed analytics such as how long a student has spent creating their Sutori (and for shared stories, I can see how long each student in the class has spent on each story). The next step will be for us to share our projects as a class. I will have students review the work of one or two classmates, engage with the content on that page, and also write up a reflective statement on what the student learned by reviewing his/her peer’s project.
Making It Stick
If you haven’t read Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, by Peter Brown, I highly recommend it. One quote from the book that helped inspire this project is:
“When you practice elaboration, there’s no known limit to how much you can learn. Elaboration is the process of giving new material meaning by expressing it in your own words and connecting it with what you already know. The more you can explain about the way your new learning relates to your prior knowledge, the stronger your grasp of the new learning will be, and the more connections you create that will help you remember it later.”
― Peter C. Brown, Make It Stick
I hope that I was able to capture some of what Brown mentions in the above quote in creating this Sutori project for my students. And also, I think that students were quite proud of themselves by the time they submitted their final work. They have come a long way in their learning since the start of the year, and I think that this project allowed them to highlight and “see” this growth!