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Thursday, May 10, 2018

More Feedback

Everyone loves feedback--feedback helps us to develop and grow, and feedback also points to our good work and effort. There isn't much time for written feedback in the schoolhouse. We give lots of verbal feedback and coaching all the time as students engage in countless learning experiences, but we don't have as much opportunity for written feedback with the exception of report cards, assessments, and the less frequent project rubric or comments.

Why don't we have time for this?

First of all to simply correct a host of papers and offer a comment usually only expresses what we and students already know and does little to forward learning, but takes a lot of time. Today many teachers don't do this simply because of the lack of good growth that comes from this. Yet we still need to look for ways to provide more and better written feedback on an ongoing basis--how might we do this?

The kind of feedback I like best is the written feedback that comes from a coaching session. I truly enjoy and profit from sitting down with a child or small group and listening to their comments, view their efforts together, and then penning feedback. That's the richest type of feedback--the coaching conversation.

As I think about student goals and learning next year, I want to think about how I'll build in these meaningful coaching and feedback sessions.

Math Reflection Notebooks
Since I'll be instituting math reflection notebooks, I may be able to make a commitment to reviewing these notebooks during the weekends. I can make time for this if this is a primary goal of the year as I'll set that time aside. Since there's support for this effort and meaningful, potential growth that will come from it, I think I'll make this a goal. That means each child will get math feedback almost every week.

Science Lab Sheets
Rather than a notebook, I like the use of the lab sheet to lead science experiments and exploration. Although since it's good for students to be able to look back at past work, we'll likely file these lab sheets into a 3-prong folder. With regard to this, I could simply collect the sheets after the study session and write a quick comment. This will build greater fidelity to using the sheets in ways that matter. I've noticed that students had a difficult time following and completing these mini reports, and I can help them more with the following actions:
  • Making directions simple with check boxes
  • Highlighting key vocabulary
  • Providing some time at the end of each experiment/exploration for a short "low stakes" reflection
  • Collecting and assessing the lab sheets with a rubric. 
  • Filing the completed lab sheets in student portfolios.
Social Emotional Learning Goals 
We used a good social emotional learning (SEL) goal sheet this year. We may want to think about ways to keep student goals in this regard up front each week--we may be able to build in time for weekly reflection on these goals, reflection that we respond to on a regular basis.