I often get questions from students (and parents) asking what exactly needs to be done to get that elusive 6 or 7. This year, I came up with an I-get-it-now way to show my class just how it’s done.
After reviewing the rubric and discussing how the rubric works. I read the book Sylvia’s Spinach by Katherine Pryor to my class. This is a book about a girl whose class is going to grow a garden. Each student plants and cares for his or her assigned vegetable. Sylvia is given spinach to her dismay, but nurtures it until it finally grows. And though it is the last plant to sprout, it is one of the first to be ready to eat. Sylvia is so proud of her spinach that she decides to taste it and finds that she likes spinach. She likes it so much that she eagerly shares it with her family. After reading the book, we discussed what sort of grade Sylvia earned on her project. The kids had a great discussion on why she should get a 5 or 6.
Next, we watched a video about Katie Stagliano. When Katie was a third grader, her teacher assigned her class the project to grow a cabbage. Katie’s cabbage grew to an impressive forty pounds. Katie decided to donate her cabbage to help feed those in need. She also helped to serve the cabbage and found that it helped feed 275 people. Katie was so impressed by this that she decided to grow a garden so that she could feed even more people in her community. Seventeen-year-old Katie is now the founder of Katie’s Krops, a non-profit organization that offers grants to children around the country to grow crops in their community so the harvest can be donated locally. After watching the video, we discussed what grade Katie would receive on her project.
The kids could see the obvious distinctions between a 5 and a 7. They could see the difference between doing something well and completely and taking their learning beyond to make a global connection.