Designing Effective Projects : Teaching Thinking
Assessing Thinking in an Senior Phase Classroom

Assessing Thinking: Grades 6-8
In Literature e-Circles* (original project - unadapted) learners in different schools read the novel Holes by Louis Sachar, and meet in virtual literature circles (or “e-circles”) to discuss their interpretations of the novel. Comprehension questions and a modified Socratic discussion method promote deep thinking about characterization, plot, style, author intent, and personal interpretation. Learners meet face-to-face to create ICT-supported projects that demonstrate their understanding and appreciation of the text.

Assessing Process
Asking questions is an important thinking skill. The following anecdotal comments describe the kinds of questions asked by learners in oral and electronic discussions.

Student Date Notes
Amanda 10/15  Holes—2 questions to clear up confusion about plot
10/30  Holes—Question about character’s motive
11/10  Holes—Question comparing her experiences to Stanley’s

Assessing Product
The following rubric is used to evaluate the quality of thinking that is reflected in the final project for this unit.

Holes Project Evaluation Rubric


During independent reading, learners write responses to the text on sticky notes. After reading a scheduled number of pages, they record and expand their notes in their journal and write a response to the prompt for that day’s e-circle. This entry serves as the “ticket” into the ongoing e-circle discussion. Use the independent reading-responding time to meet with individuals or small groups who need extra support. To encourage steady reading effort, record the number of pages the class has read at the end of each period. Seeing the number of pages grow on a “Class Reading Progress” chart can be motivating. Every three days, ask learners to select their best notes, write a reflection about the strategies they used, and turn them in for assessment.


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