I’ve been shadowing Ruth Gleicher, AP Biology teacher at Niles West High School (in Skokie, IL), for the last few weeks as she re-imagines an ecological succession project with her students. This week, Ruth and her students went on their field trip to the Indiana Dunes (that’s them in the photo above). Ruth has altered the project from the paper brochure she required her students to create in years past to a menu of possible digital projects (a video, an online comic book, a VoiceThread, or a digital storybook). She has also included a formative assessment stage, where the students storyboard their project before building it. Ruth hopes that the assignment’s redesign will help spark their imaginations, encourage their creativity, and facilitate peer review and networked sharing. Ultimately, Ruth believes that this new approach will help the students more fully grasp and understand the concept of ecological succession while helping her better assess and diagnose their misconceptions and gaps.
I’ve been recording short conversations between us as Ruth recounts her insights and observations on the development and implementation of this new project. Here is conversation #3, recorded jus after their trip to the Dunes: