Massachusetts Success Stories
I teach both pre-service and regular teachers. These Exemplars are used to show students what constitutes good problem solving and assessment. I love them.
Your work is fantastic! We are looking for a way to monitor the growth of a student as a scientist from grade to grade. Your rubrics will help us to begin this important work.
Elementary Science Curriculum Specialist
A Principal's Reflections
I recently had the opportunity to reflect on our students' growth since they have been using Exemplars. What pleases me is the degree to which I see them developing the ability to explain their solutions using reasoning and strong language. This can be as simple as a kindergartener describing his/her picture solution; to the teacher who in turn records the student's idea; to our students at grade four who often utilize a full page of charts and explanations to "defend" and clarify their solutions. After selected students present their work to the class, every student is given a chance to expand their original solution. We have them use colored pencils to improve their first solution. There has been growth in our students' ability to collaborate in order to expand their own skills. Additionally, the sharing component provides the opportunity to practice communication and presentation to peers, which is an enhancement to our work in English Language Arts.
The level and complexity of Exemplars has enabled our students to gain exposure to more complex problems than we had ever offered them before. At the youngest grade levels, students are solving multi-step problems, and at all grade levels the subjects and "real life" feel of the problems gives students a natural desire to persevere, since the situations presented seem plausible.
Another great aspect about Exemplars is the more accessible versions that we use successfully with many of our students who struggle. The students are able to be successful with similar problems to their peers as opposed to requiring a different problem entirely and potentially feeling left out. The more challenging versions are used for our more talented math students as well!
On a final note, I review one Exemplars problem per month for each student, and I think it is a credit to the program that I look forward to seeing them each and every time. The problems generate excellent work from our students.