Hi there! This is Isla Hearts Teaching and I am super excited to be blogging with Kristin from One Stop Teacher Shop!
Many teachers know just how important feedback is to the motivation, learning and achievement of their students. I, myself, have fond memories of a great teacher named Mrs. M, who would put detailed Post-It notes in our books after every writing lesson. The notes stated what we did well, what we needed to improve and what we could aspire to do next. And I loved it. We all did. Not only did it feel like we were writing for an audience, but it also helped us to be proud of what we knew, gave us insight into what we needed to improve and pointed us in the direction of where we could go to independently extend ourselves. And, most of all, it made us pay attention and do our best.
Then they attach their name to their corresponding writing goal poster. (It could be anything from “I will use interesting vocabulary” to “I will make sure my writing has a beginning, middle and end”.)
Obviously, classroom teachers circulate as much as they can during writing lessons and give as much timely feedback as possible. However, as you know, it is not always possible to get around to everyone! This is where feedback may come in different forms in order to maintain its timeliness. Feedback may come from teachers, other adults (e.g. principal) or peers.
In my class, we do a lot of peer feedback when writing. This is something that I set up early in the school year. I discuss with the students how to give peer feedback and how to receive peer feedback by discussing that:
When giving feedback…
· It is about the work, not about the person who did the work
After the students understand the peer feedback criteria, we participate in structured feedback sessions. Some examples are:
In his book, Professor John Hattie mentions that good feedback should not just be about saying: “Well done!” or “Good work!” Rather, to make it more meaningful, the feedback given should link to the task/performance by stating WHAT was done well, WHAT could be improved and WHERE the student could go from where they currently are. This can be done via teacher or peer conferencing with the student.
And again, the teacher needs to be very clear that the classroom is not a place to be perfect and faultless. The feedback should never paint mistakes as ‘bad’.
If a teacher writes: “Don’t forget to edit your work” in a student’s writing book on their last piece of work and nothing more is said about it, how effective will the feedback be? Probably not that effective. One or two students may go back and read the comment in their books at a later date, but the vast majority will just turn to a fresh page when the new writing lesson begins. Where Mrs. M differed in this regard was that part of our writing lesson was to read our Post-It note, identify what she was talking about in our previous writing and then remove the Post-It from the page. We then stuck the Post-It on our desk to remind ourselves what we needed to work on during the current writing lesson. This modeled one way to use feedback effectively – and it’s a method that I use in my classroom, too!By having the students aware of their strengths and areas needing improvement, they are able to take greater responsibility for their learning. One way I do this to make it a little more fun is to provide ‘Writing Goal Achievement Charts’.
|Writing Goal Achievement Chart|
After students have identified their learning goal and have received feedback on their task/performance, they color a picture to earn certificates. It is a great way to reinforce and motivate!