Imagine you’re planning the dinner menu for the week. What are some of the things you do? You look up recipes, read the recipes and make sure you have all the ingredients for the recipes, and maybe think of what ingredients are used for multiple recipes. These steps in planning dinner are the same steps teachers should consider when thinking about assessment while they plan a lesson or unit.
- Nutritional Value: These are the standards that need to be met in a lesson, just like dinner is supposed to be nutritional and useful, so is the material that is taught. The nutritional factors to food and the material help validate the assessment and why the knowledge is important.
- Spreadable ingredients: Just as there is overlap between ingredients in recipes (for example, if you decide to make spaghetti, lasagna, stuffed peppers, tacos and pizza for the week); there is overlap between information in lessons. Think about the overlap and what can be used for multiple recipes. Those supplies relate to overlapping material. If the students do not understand it, they will be lost when that knowledge is built upon. Therefore, it might be beneficial to make sure there are plenty of these spreadable ingredients.
Making a Grocery List and possibly some changes
Look at the list of things you need to make the recipes. Separate out the items into the ones you already have in the pantry, what you need to buy, and questionables.
- In the pantry: This is what the students already know. You found this out the same way you knew what ingredients you already had, by pre-assessing your kitchen (or the students’ knowledge). This can be done in a number of ways, by either collecting an assignment that shows what they know, or by using a deductive reasoning model.
- Need to Buy: If it isn’t in your pantry, then you’ll have to go to the store. This is the knowledge your students are learning or need to learn in the lesson.
- Questionables: These are things you have in your kitchen, but might not have enough of. In other words, your students may know the material or not. Therefore, you will want to plan formative assessments throughout the lesson, whether it is orally or written.
Boiling Water and the steps that follow
Everything changes when the burners are on and boiling water attacks. The recipe seems easy enough, but then there’s flavoring, making sure the meat (or tofu) isn’t over or under cooked, and realizing you didn’t get enough cheese for all the meals.
- Flavoring: This aligns with the speed at which you give the lesson. Some things work at a fast pace, just as some foods can be spicy. Fast pace lessons use the bottom of Bloom’s Taxonomy, such as basic knowledge and comprehension questions. However, you might want to take it down a notch at the application and creation levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy
- Over or Under Cooked: While cooking, you have to continually check on the food and make sure nothing gets over done. The same is for the students. If all of the students seem to understand the material, turn the burner down on the meat, and give attention to the sauce or the side dish. However, if you’re dealing with something you don’t know exactly how to measure whether it is cooked or not (like tofu), there is a risk of the food being under cooked. This can cause students to struggle, and not like what was made for dinner.
- Not enough: Recall the things you marked as questionables on your grocery list. It turns out there wasn’t enough cheese for each recipes. So now you have to go back to the store, and spend more time going over the content then you originally had planned.
Serving the Meal
Serving the Meal serves as summative assessment. Think about the example I gave for a menu. I listed spaghetti, lasagna, stuffed peppers, tacos and pizza as the meals for the week. Each of these meals can be changed based on what you put on them. Some of them can even be created by the students. Therefore, the students can decide what goes on their taco or pizza, or you can establish what is in the lasagna or peppers. The ones that students get to decide what they have are alternate assignments. Whereas, the lasagna and peppers are like tests, where the teacher decides how and exactly what is tested.
However, the key thing when using assessment is making sure the students know what ingredients are in the food and why those ingredients are nutritious.