The actual skill being learned was irrelevant. Everyone was directed to a skill they knew they could not already do. Needless to say, there were a lot learning to draw Zombie Penguins!! We were building empathy for the learning process. We were also self-assessing using SOLO rubrics.
In a quickfire 15 minutes, we walked our self-selected groups through the ups and downs of learning something new. The frustrations and the feeling of success. The wondering of the "Why?" at times, and the realisation of "That's why!", for some.
Our "learners" were able to use the SOLO rubrics to identify where they were with the skill before we started, and track their progress over that very short time period. Our own next steps would be to identify the strategies they used to enable them to improve in their skill(s).
I really hope this short activity was of value to our teachers, and they have been able to find something they can use in their classes this year. I know that it has reminded me to be very explicit with the use of SOLO (for example) in helping learners be aware of their own progress within a lesson, or across a week/unit, as they learn new skills and knowledge. The key "take home" for me, was to guide learners to identify the strategies that helped them learn and "move to the next level". This is my next promise to myself for the year: I will use SOLO Rubrics more with skills and knowledge and get learners to identify their successful (and unsuccessful) strategies in learning.
As an aside, the SOLO Rubrics are really easy to make when teaching a new skill. This link takes you to a SOLO Rubric Generator. After inputting a verb and context for the skill, you just do a little bit of proof-reading and editing, and it is ready to roll...