Clapping Activity

Why don’t we involve learners in assessment more often???

Who knows! There are so many benefits! But if you don’t know why… then you don’t do it…. and you and your students don’t see the results.

If you just want to help people make this change, consider this….

Many years ago I learned about a wonderful adult learning strategy that involves having participants be part of a “clapping class” with students, teachers, and criteria. Recently the video clip of Sandra Herbst working with a group and doing the clapping activity was featured as one of our blog entries. I want to share the following email from a colleague in Saskatchewan:

We have been using the clapping activity in many of our schools this fall. I would love to share with you about a wonderful morning we had a few weeks ago.

We were with a K-12 staff who is looking deeper into self-assessment. We were focusing our time together on setting criteria and self-assessment, using the Knowing What Counts books as our guide. At the end of our time, we introduced the clapping activity. This is a favourite time with staff members – it allows for some craziness and rich interaction while making a powerful point!

Anyway, we were having a lot of fun and there were some amazing clapping performances. After two participants, one of our judges emerged as a bit of a “nitpicky” judge – some of the audience members were feeling a little upset with him. Through a sidebar conversation, we determined it might be nice to have the judge provide an exemplar of what he was looking for. When we asked for an exemplar for our third participant, the “nitpicky” judge was quite reluctant at first but then got into it. He gave a great example of what he was looking for and it turned out what was in his head was not what he had indicated when helping to set criteria with the other judges.

It ended up being a great conversation starter and the conversation went deeper once we got into the debriefing portion, not only with the judges but with the entire group. The talk went well into the lunch hour (we could smell the pizza) but they just had so much to unpack.

Such great evidence of powerful learning. Enjoy the video clip of Sandra and think about using this learning activity with your learners – parents, colleagues, or students.

All my best,
Anne

PS The credit for this clapping activity is hard to trace and therefore credit is hard to give. We did not invent it. We first learned it from colleagues at Rick Stiggins’ wonderful summer conference in the early 1990s.


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