My CPS Lesson Proposal for University of Melbourne Online Course

I recently completed an online course with The University of Melbourne, called Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills.

 It was a pretty valuable experience, and took up much of my online time, especially since I’ve returned to work for the new school year. The main focus of study was in Collaborative Problem-Solving Skills, also known as CPS. These skills are being taught along with the regular curriculum in many other countries, sometimes utilizing real-time technology, where students interact from long distance on various projects. I do not have experience in this arena as yet, but I do have use of interactive technology within the classroom, between partners and groups, and I wondered: Could CPS apply to language learning activities? I then did some research, and found Collaborative Poetry. One other time in the past, I had attempted collaborative writing projects in the classroom, and it did not go very well. This course helped me to see that collaboration must first be taught, and properly assessed, before it can be used in face-to-face as well as distance projects, at any grade level. Especially difficult if you are dealing with English language learners, or students with various abilities, even learning disabilities. Below I have posted the result of my research and the lesson proposal. I am currently awaiting the grade for my participation, but it is my hope that my few readers will find this interesting, even useful. I am open to ideas and comments as well (just be kind in your critiques)!
CPS Lesson Using Collaborative Poetry and Assessment: ELD Language Arts
Lesson Summary: Collaborative Poetry, shared writing in English, using interactive whiteboard, organizers, and presentation tools (Activboard flip chart, Power Point slide show, or class blog), students’ choice. As assessment, the partners will publish their final creation together, and present to a classroom group, using technology and presentation tool of choice, then self-assess using student-friendly rubric for CPS.
Objectives: Strand: Participation Interaction: TS partners will interact collaboratively; Task Completion/perseverance: TS partners will persevere in the collaboration toward goal using various activities and approaches. Strand: Perspective Taking-Responsiveness: Respond to and Incorporate contributions of partners Audience awareness: Adapt contributions to increase understanding for partners.
Self-Evaluation: Recognize own strengths and weaknesses; Transactive memory: Recognize strengths and weaknesses of others.
Strand: Task Regulation- Resource Management: Manages and uses shared resources; Flexibility and Ambiguity: Respond to ambiguous situations (problems without clear solutions). Strand: Learning and Knowledge Building- Relationships (Represent and Formulate): TS partners identify patterns between and among multiple sources of information.
Partner grouping: Two Fourth Grade ELL students: A-Intermediate English proficiency (Higher Cognitive/Lower Social
Level), B-Basic English proficiency (Lower Cognitive/Higher Social Level). Question: Can two students, at the same grade level, but not possessing the same level of proximal development in CPS or English language skills, collaboratively create poetry, and present their work using technology tools accessible to them?
Background: Background was built-in previous lessons about the elements and forms of poetry, to prepare the students to use their new knowledge collaboratively. This was also their first attempt at working as a team, to select words together, access online tools to find rhyming matches for words, or deciding to go “freeform”, based on the type of poem they will eventually choose to create and present. The student partners have a need to develop CPS in support their abilities and their partner’s, using English oral language, and listening skills, in a collaborative situation. The purpose here is not to learn to write poetry per se, but to teach one another how to write poetry in cooperation, solving issues of language and preferences as they go. The result should be that they are able to create “art” through collaborative processes.
Anticipatory Set/Problem Space: The student partners will use the Collaborative Poetry flip chart as a tool to collaborate on the best approach to create a poem, using any form they decide on, and bringing their individual skills to the process. The students will not be told what the subject of the poem must be, or how they should decide on what to write. They will use prior knowledge of poetry forms, basic grammar, and writing skills (at their level), in conjunction with CPS skills as outlined in objectives. The partners must then decide the best approach to presenting their work, based on their knowledge and skills in using technology tools. The resulting presentation must show how they supported one another to create the poetry, accessing each others’ skills and abilities, while using available resources. It is less about the quality of the poetry, then the process of getting there.
Materials and Resources: The student partners will use tools at their disposal, from paper organizers, to interactive whiteboard, online resources, thesaurus, and presentation tools using technology: Promethean flip-chart, Powerpoint
slide show, or Blog page. Student Rubric sheet provided.
Assessment: A CPS rubric to self-assess their performance as collaborators (modeled by teacher to support/scaffold ELLs). They must look at their own contributions critically and reflectively. Teacher observation of collaboration and resulting presentation, based on the CPS framework, will be considered as part of the assessment.
Closure: Student partners will meet one-on-one with teacher to get feedback based on rubric, and share their own observations of CPS/collaborative writing process.
Observations on CPS Skills: Student A: At Intermediate English proficiency (Higher Cognitive/Lower Social Level), this student shows good working skills in the cognitive areas, specifically in the sub-skills of task regulation and knowledge building, such as resource management and knowledge acquisition. They actively tap into prior and background knowledge of poetry elements,
relationships between words and grammatical structures, and how they can be used effectively in specific formats (say the difference between creating simple couplets versus more challenging poetry forms, like Cinquain). This student is more likely to understand how to use the resources effectively, and spot the inconsistencies and patterns in the poetry collaboration. As to the social areas, this student is used to working independently, and being “right”. Their somewhat competitive nature will make collaboration with another a great challenge for them. This lesson will provide the student an opportunity to mentor another student, while learning to be a good partner, who will hopefully benefit by developing the perspective-taking skills of adaptive responsiveness, audience awareness, and social regulation, specifically with transactive memory (recognizing strength as well as weakness in a partner).  Student B: At Basic English proficiency (Lower Cognitive/Higher Social Level), this student has some difficulty in the cognitive areas, due in part to their current proficiency in the English language. Since the work to be done is in English, and their partner does not speak the student’s first language, the challenge for this student will be great. The student is
able to access technology and resources, but will need a supportive partner. Particularly, their ambiguity tolerance will be tested, because they are not as skilled in word work and grammatical structures, so being creative and spontaneous in English language tasks is not a strength for them. In the social elements of perspective taking, this student has a good sense of adaptive responsiveness; the danger is that they will tend to let their partner make most of the contributions. However, this student is highly adaptable, and very responsible, and will persevere in the task at hand. The collaboration will hopefully lead to feeling more in control of their existing skills and abilities, particularly because they will be working with one partner, who is more proficient in English, but who can use the balance in social areas that this student can provide in a collaborative setting.
Rubric for Assessment:
CPS Student Rubric ELL 4
Sources cited:
Promethean flip chart (edited for my class use) “Collaborative Poetry”:
Resource for building background in poetry elements and forms, practice organizers
Teaching Poetry – PoetrySoup – (CCS 2008).
Adapted material for use in this lesson’s CPS Rubric from: PDF: CPS Conceptual Framework from ATC21S MOOC, originally adapted from: Hesse, F., Care, E., Buder, J., Sassenberg, K., & Griffin, P., (in press). A Framework for Teachable Collaborative Problem Solving Skills. In P. Griffin and E. Care (Eds.) Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills: Methods and Approach. Educational Assessment in an Information Age. Dordrecht, Springer Science and Business Media.

One thought on “My CPS Lesson Proposal for University of Melbourne Online Course

  1. I have seen something similar to this in the US school. I like yours because it is a self assessment instead of a group assessment. I feel that it is easy to critique someone else, but more difficult to assess ourselves. Good work.

    Liked by 1 person

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