Over the past few years I have implemented project-based assessments in every level of Spanish that I teach. I think that I have come up with some great ideas, but after reading Apple’s Challenge Based Learning white paper and working through three days of IB MYP training I need to work on being more systematic in presenting the project. To use a colleague’s words, I need to unpack the assignment before I hand it to my students. When I have laid out the steps for my students, they have been more confident in their approach and successful in producing their final product.

Over the past week I have been revising old project-based assessments that my colleagues and I will assign this year. I prefer these types assessments to traditional exams for a number of reasons. One, they are authentic by design. Students may one day have a job where they have to create a multi-media presentation on a given topic. One project that I have planned for September involves students creating a presentation about a Spanish-speaking country. Their presentation can take any form that the students see fit. Their audience is potential study abroad candidates. Students will brainstorm, collaborate, create and share their ideas and projects.

Another benefit of project-based assessments is that students have the unique opportunity to take what they know and love, whether it’s music, technology, or art, meld it with what they are acquiring in Spanish class and then produce an authentic product. I love to see kids shine and project-based assessments afford them this chance.

Click to read my Don Quixote assignment and hear an amazing project from one of my students from last spring.