I clearly remember assigning a project I had developed to my class. I was so excited about it! I just knew that my students were going to amaze me with their creativity and deep understanding. When the projects came in, I was thoroughly disappointed and wondered, “Why didn’t they get this?” “How did they misunderstand what I wanted?” and “Why did they leave out some of the major components of this project?” When I stopped looking “out the window” and took a long look “in the mirror,” I realized that in my mind I had a very clear vision of what I wanted my students to do but somehow my vision was lost in translation. No matter how clearly we articulate an assignment or how thorough our rubrics are, models are a very powerful way to help students visualize your expectation. Yes, it takes time to write an entire essay or create a project, but when students have a clear understanding of what they are supposed to know, understand, and be able to do, their chance for success increases (Marzano, 1992).
Marzano, R. (1992). A different kind of classroom: Teaching with dimensions of learning.Alexandria, VA: ASCD.