On April 29, April 30 and May 1, I attended the Rhode Island Skills Commission Social Studies spring task development conference with my mentor teacher that brought together history teachers from across Rhode Island to develop common critical thinking performance assesssments. This was a great culminating professional development experience for me as a student teacher because my student teaching placement, Lincoln High School, and my mentor teacher in particular were heavily involved, really on the cutting edge, of using Skills Commission Tasks to demonstrate that students were meeting Rhode Island Performance Based Graduation Requirements. I learned a lot from this conference and being able to participate in this discussion at Lincoln, and am grateful for the opportunity to participate.
At the conference I participated in creating a response to informational text task on the decline of the Roman Empire and an instructional unit to scaffold students in preparation for that task. From this, I learned a lot about scaffolding and assessment, and began to be able to picture how I could use tasks like this, that use primary sources to develop students higher level thinking, reading and writing skills, in my own classroom next year. The overall whole experience at Lincoln really opened my eyes to a whole new perception of how assessment can be done.