Managing Multimedia Project Disappointment

In my two of previous posts for course four, I’ve written about how student ownership in our current unit of inquiry related to protecting the earth’s natural resources could be increased by using a challenge based approach (post from 2017) and how that idea became reality this year (post from 2018) when student ownership increased after two students challenged the class to try zero waste. This shift is exciting and I want to ensure that my students’ reflections and multimedia presentations reflect the actions they took and their learning.

Two weeks ago I was preparing to share examples of student created multimedia projects with my current grade 3 students. The goal of this was for my students to gain greater understanding what their final multimedia presentations needed to include. The work samples came from my previous year class and I quickly remembered why last year I was felt embarrassed and disappointed in last year’s outcomes. Here are the two examples I found to share.



All educators can understand this experience. John Larmer’s Edutopia post echoes many of my feelings and my reactions to last year’s student work. Larmer then goes onto provide some tips, which many of us know are just good instructional practices on a daily basis, to avoid this pitfall he suggests :

  • share the final project rubric at the beginning of the unit,
  • provide practice opportunities for students to use the rubric,
  • provide quality and timely formative assessment,
  • provide time for revision and
  • celebrate excellence by displaying quality student work.

My class had been excited about using a tech tool but their learning and message was lost due to lack of student ownership and clear expectations. Last year my team developed a simple checklist (see below) but it didn’t encapsulate what I’d hoped it would as it merely just provided students a list of necessary elements. Additionally it didn’t include any components related to media.

This year, I’ve taken some small steps, even before reading Larmer’s tips, to help already improve my student’s work by:

  • regularly conferring with students,
  • providing written feedback,
  • sharing the required elements checklist at the beginning of the unit,
  • training both of the teaching assistants who work in my classroom in the project expectations and
  • conferring with a smaller number of students so each adult we can be supportive of individual students.

We’ve noticed significant improvement in the quality and engagement in their work due to this change. Finally, during a whole group mini-lesson, we utilized the updated project expectations checklist to evaluate the two student examples shared earlier. Here are the project expectations we are using this year versus those from last year (above).

During week two of course four, there was an emphasis on how we could learn from the past educational frameworks by using problem, project and challenged based learning with our students. It was suggested that our students’ overall skills could be increased using these learning frameworks which although may seem “old” in reality are just really good teaching and learning. It was during this week that I spent time playing with PBL rubric generator in our course readings. I found I could customize it to encompass more of what I was looking for in my students’ final projects.

Screenshot of PBL rubric

You can see it in it’s entirety here Student Multimedia Checklist (1) There are some elements which need to be tweaked as my students can choose from making an iMovie, digital book in Book Creator or a paper scrapbook but I think it’s a fair start. I found some additional media rubrics using a Google Search but majority of them are in teacher language versus student-friendly language.

Confirmation of my investment in this rubric generating task comes from reading Royer and Royer’s article, Wrangle it with a Rubric, “creating multimedia allows students to construct their own meaning and the process of researching topics, evaluating resources, synthesizing core concepts, selecting appropriate media and making products develops higher order thinking.” Their words inspire me and confirms my thinking around the value and importance of this work. My work but also my students’ time, efforts and passion for how they took action to help protect the earth. Also, they reminded me of how I can also evaluate our media standards within this task and apply this to the new rubric as well especially with their example of teacher rubric with different levels of student performance. This year, due to already using one checklist, I will use the anchor chart below as a way to help students ensure they have met standards and also a high level of multimedia work. This anchor chart is connected to our Literacy Standard: Apply listening, speaking, viewing and presenting skills and strategies to communicate effectively with the grade three benchmark: Present ideas and understandings appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. 

My plan is to share this with students as we begin their multimedia work and then as they complete their work, they will complete the project expectations checklist shared earlier. The formatting when I published this to the web altered the organization of the anchor chart. 

I’m curious about what you think. Am I tossing a resource too late in the unit? Should I save it for next year? Is there anything I’m missing or I should delete?






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