Kevin Glowiak

Middle School Religion, 2018 - 2019

Kevin Glowiak


Introduction:

Last year Karen Salvador and Beth Whitfield challenged me to take on the transition from a traditional “Lecture based” class to a “Project-Based Learning” classroom. Project-Based Learning is a form of educating students to take more ownership over their own education. By working in groups and reinforcing their social skills, they will be designing creative projects which will pique their interest, requiring collaborative group research in order to co-create a final product which embodies the essential lessons from their coursework.


Process:

The textbooks have seven units each and within each unit there are three chapters. In the classroom, I have each of the classes divided into three groups - one group per chapter. Students will collaborate with one another in these small groups where they will be responsible for mastering the information from their assigned chapter. After filling out a “Google Doc” as a group, they will create posters that will display the essential lessons from their chapters.


Once they have finished creating their posters, they will then break up into Unit Groups, where there will be students from each of the three chapter groups. Students in each group will take turns teaching the others about their chapter using their posters. Afterwards, we may play “Kahoot!” - a favored review game - but then each Unit Group will be in charge of creating another project that synthesizes the primary concepts of the overall unit, which will display their mastery over all the critical topics. These projects will involve, making a children’s book, role-playing, creating a board game and many other fun ideas which will appeal to them. These final projects are assigned in lieu of formal tests and exams.


Classroom Management & Discipline:

Last year’s “Pilgrimage: Around the World to Heavenly Places” competition was a huge success. This program was started to help stimulate religious devotion and prayer in the children outside of Religion class while they were at home and to also “normalize” religious practice with friends in the context of social gatherings. The two classes that ultimately won “travelled enough miles” to go to the moon and back five times! Rather than making it a “Pilgrimage” this year, I’m just calling them “Holy Points” and the top 5 teams that score the most points this year will go on a special field trip with Fr. Jacob and I at the end of the year. Students will earn Holy Points not only for Religious Devotions and prayers done at home and with friends, but also for exhibiting positive classroom behavior by helping friends, encouraging teammates and when necessary, calling their fellow students to virtue.


I also have “Conduct Points” assigned to students, which is a different category altogether from “Holy Points.” Students begin with 100 “Conduct Points” each week and when they act out of line, they receive penalties that deduct from their weekly total. When a student reaches 0 or goes into the negatives, it will result in a Conduct Referral which will need to be signed by a parent or guardian, then returned to school. From here, the standard school policies apply in regard to detentions, suspensions, expulsions, etc.


Grading & Assessment:

Each day I give the class expectations on where they need to be in their group work regarding the reflection questions I provide for each chapter. There may be anywhere from 10 to 12 reflection questions given to them for each chapter. If students manage their time well in class and meet their daily goals, no homework is assigned to them. However, if they fall behind they will need to make this up at home as homework to get back into step with the rest of the class. This will require them to read from their texts, review the discussion questions assigned to those sections, and provide their personal answers which they will bring to class to discuss the following day.


They will receive a score at the end of the week out regarding their progress and how well their team met their goals. The maximum number of points are determined by how many days we had that week, multiplied by two for two points per day. This is counted as a “Student Work” grade, a category typically reserved for Homework. If students failed to meet their goals in class and fail to complete their homework to catch-up, their score will be determined as a percentage of completion, multiplied by the maximum possible score. For instance, if the goal for the students was to “Read and answer questions 1-5” and a group only got through question number 4 at the end of class Friday, the students would have to provide their personal answers for question 5 the following Monday. For those students who do this, they will receive 10/10 on the Goal Score and for those that fail to do this will receive an 8/10.


The reflection questions themselves will also be graded - 30 points per chapter for 6th grade, 50 points per chapter for 7th grade and 70 points per chapter for 8th grade also in the “Student Work” category.


The posters that the students create at the end of each chapter will count as “Assessment” grades, generally used for tests and exams. Once again, Unit Projects will take the place of exams and the total number of points will vary from project to project - these too will count as “Assessment Grades.”


Per School Policy, please also note that each student’s grade is weighted 50% / 50% between the “Student Work” and “Assessment” categories. For example, if your child receives 100/100 points for “Student Work” but 25/50 for “Assessments” they will receive a 75% in the class rather than an 83% (125/150 = .833).


Student Output

Grading Category

Weekly Chapter Goals

Student Work

Reflection Questions

Student Work

Chapter Posters

Assessment

Unit Projects

Assessment


Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2018 West Corporation. All rights reserved.