I teach Grade 12 law and economics in a one-to-one school, so my classes tend to combine project-based learning, flipped lessons, blended learning, and mastery learning on a regular basis. My general motto when developing lessons for my classes could be summed up like this:
Every class involves something to learn, something to do, and something to demonstrate.
During my Grade 12 Law mock trial unit, my classes become divided into two teams: the crown, and the defence. In a typical mock trial work period, I’ll tend to provide a brief framing of a topic at the beginning of the class, and then release one team or the other to work independently in our learning commons. The other team will remain in the class with me for a mock trial rehearsal.
One might wonder how I can keep tabs on the group working outside while I’m working so closely with the group inside the class. That’s where FreshGrade comes in. I’ll set up an activity in FreshGrade for the team that’s working independently, and I’ll ask that team to record videos of their opening statements, direct examinations, cross-examinations, and closing arguments and then upload them to FreshGrade.
After class, I’ll use FreshGrade to not only look at the videos that were recorded but also to provide feedback to the students who appear in those videos. The assessment tools made available in FreshGrade are numerous, ranging from rating scales to completion marks, to an overall mark. However, it’s the feedback options that I’m really excited about.
The FreshGrade interface makes it quick and easy to view the various videos that the students upload, and to leave feedback for each student. Feedback can be provided either in writing or (on a mobile device) as a recorded audio clip. Naturally, students are excited to get these little nuggets of personal feedback, and, for the most part, the feedback is not related to a grade, so the emphasis is typically on the student’s learning.
It’s great to know that parents can also see the action that’s taking place in class on a regular basis, as opposed to only seeing whatever graded assessments might make it home. I’m enjoying FreshGrade, and I’m also appreciative of the efforts that the FreshGrade team makes to respond to feedback and suggestions.
Arthur Lightstone, Grade 12 Law teacher at Holy Trinity School in Richmond Hill, Ontario.