There are ways to allow the students to show what they know that does not include writing essays. Writing papers over and over in a class is something that has been done in education since the beginning of the time. But as we proceed further into the 21st century, it is time to look at other ways that are a bit more creative and will still allow students to share their knowledge.
You may have a future actor or radio star in your classroom. You just never know. And you might be the one to inspire them with this creative assignment. Instead of writing a paper demonstrating what the student knows, just have them make an audio recording on it. Instruct them to be entertaining, edit the recording where needed, and put out something of high quality. Verbal expression can be a tough thing to master for not just children, but adults. Some people are extremely monotone. Teaching them proper expression through this assignment is something they can use for the rest of their lives and it will allow them to be creative as well.
Create Skits in the Classroom
As an educator, I get a huge kick out of letting students write their own little short plays and allowing them to perform them in the classroom. Some of the most subdued students will come to life in front of the class. I had one girl barely say two words the whole year, but when she was putting on a performance with planned out dialogue, she was amazing.
Place students in groups and have them create skits that will let them show what they have learned around a certain topic. Whether it has something to do with History or a novel that they read, the possibilities are endless.
There are many presentation apps to choose from when you are a teacher. Whether it is through Google Slides, PowerPoint, or any other app that is similar, students can create some amazing presentations if you just give them the room to do so. It just may surprise you that your students will be able to put on better presentations than you can. This can be done for any subject area as well. Be sure to allow the students to show their presentations to the entire class as it will provide more ideas for the rest of the kids next time.
If you give a student a video camera and ask them to show what they know through a carefully edited five-minute video, they just may create a masterpiece. In fact, if they have a computer device that has a camera, and most of them do, no video camera is even needed. Plus, you may be teaching the next Spielberg and playing a hand in his or her development.
I’m not the best artist in the world, but I took a painting class a couple years ago and surprised myself with most of my paintings being very… not horrible. Let the students show what they know by sending them down the artistic path. Bring in a local artist that knows about painting to give the students a brief tutorial on how the professionals paint. They can then carry this information over to the assignment. If the students are studying about the Civil War or a topic that lends itself to imagery, this could be the perfect assignment for them.
Fake Social Media Account
This is definitely one of my favorites. With all your students being experts at social media, they will love it as well. Simply take a novel that you have read in class. Assign each student a character from the novel. If there are not enough main characters, let them work on it in small groups. They are then to make a fake social media account for that character based on what they did in the novel.
For instance, a book that everyone has read is To Kill a Mockingbird. If a student were assigned Boo Radley, what would they have up on their Facebook and what are the types of posts they would make? Maybe a picture of the tree in his front yard as his profile picture as he definitely would not want a picture of himself as he is terribly awkward and shy. Then they can simply add more to it from there. It really is a creative way to let the students demonstrate what they know without having to write it down in a five-page paper.