I first wrote my book Students Taking Charge in 2011. Now I’m finishing second editions with both a K–5 version and 6–12 version (due out summer 2018). By focusing each book on specific grade levels, I have room to go into more detail on topics! I thought I’d share some of the insights on how to transition students from using primary rubrics to those they will use throughout the rest of their school career.

After your students decide on a problem to solve, or you offer up ideas for a problem to solve, you need to develop the analytic rubric to guide students in their work. The power of the rubric is in sharing clearly articulated expectations as to what a grade-level performance (and beyond) would look like. See the excerpt from Designer Pizza below. Note that the rubric describes the final product or performance and often uses phrases, not sentences, to save room.

However, when working with primary students, where literacy is a major goal, this could be confusing. I recommend a different, more age-appropriate approach for K–1 students. Consider the rubric from Can You Help Funny Frog?

By second grade, students should transition away from this type of rubric. You might begin the year with a similar-style rubric and, at some point, introduce them to the more “grown-up” rubric. In Oh, the Places We Can Go! you’ll see two rubrics. You would show students the first rubric that would be familiar to them, even though there are now four columns.

Then you would introduce the second rubric and discuss the differences.

Note the headings now change to the performance levels; the sentences give way to phrases, which, as the years progress, will allow room for more detailed criteria; and the criteria are written to describe the product or performance from a third-person perspective.

The Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom is about moving students from engagement to empowerment to efficacy. That progression is enhanced by very deliberate and purposeful actions on the part of the teacher. I hope this helps to illustrate that process.

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