Create, Apply, Synthesize – what do these three words have in common? If you guessed they are all Level 4 verbs on the Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) chart, you guessed correctly. Each of these are verbs that require students to extend their thinking, to dig deep into the minds and be meta-cognitive while going about the life of your average high school student.
Why then would I write about the DOK verbs in my blog? Let’s be honest, it has been a while since I wrote anything in this blog – since July sitting poolside at the Jostens Renaissance conference in Phoenix, AZ. The past few months have been hectic, harried, and extremely challenging. But as I walked into Kris Comstock’s Junior English class here at Rock Springs High School on Thursday – it became apparent that the work we are doing, the efforts we are making to drive student thinking and processing to higher levels was beginning to provide dividends.
Mrs. Comstock has been with us at Rock Springs High School since before I was fortunate enough to be a part of this great staff a little over 7 years ago. I have observed her classes many times, and seen students being creative and making posters, charts, and diagrams of people meant to be character analyses. These are very good activities, and tend to push students’ levels of thinking. But what I saw in Kris’ classroom yesterday was at a whole new level. Perhaps she has done this before, but I was so very impressed with the student ownership of their learning, their ability to apply what they had learned to a new setting, and they level of creativity each student group showed in their presentations that I had to write about what I’d seen.
I asked the students if I could video their presentations, thinking I would post them to the school Facebook page (RSHS authentic) as a pat on the back. But after watching the presentations live, I knew I needed to call special attention to the work of these 27 students and their classroom teacher.
I did post the videos on the Facebook page (they are too big to embed in this blog site) so below there is a link for you to watch all four groups. The first group speaks about the over crowding of our high school, the packed classrooms and lunch room, the limited amount of time for lunch, and the hallways so full you can barely move. I hear you Group 1-I may share this with the state facility folks when they visit us soon. Group 2 sings an anti-bully plea (I apologize you can’t hear Alyssa’s voice very clear) that is an amazing statement about how each person is an individual and should be judged not on anything but who they truly are. This really tugged at my heart strings and I so very much appreciate what this group had to say. Group 3 signs a wonderful song (accompanied by Chyna on the guitar) about war, the unfairness, the individuals, and the families impacted by war. Simply awesome! And Group 4, not to be outdone speaks out through poem (unfortunately a couple members were missing on this day) also focused on the injustice of war.
To hear the students of this class, nearly all juniors in high school, speak out in protest of something they hold dear to themselves as unfair, unjust, or wrong made me think about what the world looks like to younger eyes. It filled my heart with joy, my eyes with tears, and soul with hope. We have amazing young men and women here at Rock Springs High School – and amazing men and women leading them in their classrooms.
Here is a link to our Facebook page:
A job well done…