Testing out new strategies

This year, I identified one of my challenges being that students are not always utilizing feedback in the most effective of ways. My students shared with me their favourite types of feedback and we worked together to develop a variety of strategies to ensure they were getting the most out of each learning engagement. I wanted to come up with some strategies that were realistic in terms of not taking an abundance of my time and also encouraged the students to take more ownership in their own learning. Some strategies that I tried out this year:

1. Google Docs with Google Read&Write – I have enjoyed using the add on because it allows me to leave voice memos to the students with my comments for their work. This means the students have to actually process what I am saying and translate that into an improved product rather than perhaps copying and pasting what I have written in the feedback.
2. Conferencing – I used to conference with my students in a very informal way. This year, I have asked the students to bring something to write with (computer/pen&paper) and they have to write down three pieces of guidance that they recieved from me during the conference. This actually must be included in their reflection for the final product and explain how they used the guidance to enhance the product they produced.
3. Docappender – I just started using this and look forward to beginning the next school year using this. This is an addon that can be used with google forms to track feedback over the year in one google doc. I think collecting all of their feedback in one spot will make it easy for students to refer back to when they are working on any task.
4. Single point rubrics – I have been using these in a variety of ways. I have been able to use them for daily tasks as a check list and also have been able to get the students to determine their own areas of growth and strength. It has made them more aware of the skills they are developing on a day to day basis.
5. See-saw – Students have been asked that when they are doing their homework, they select the most challenging question that they are really proud they were able to complete on their own. They need to tell me in the video why they struggled with the question to begin with, they have to explain how they were able to overcome the challenge and then explain how to solve the problem. This has had them have to really reflect on their homework strategies and has provided them with an excellent resource for revision when preparing for a test.
6. Generalized feedback – For some tasks that I feel that I am making the same comments repeatedly – I have decided to create one single document with my overall feedback for the assessment. Describing many of the things the students did well in certain aspects, but some of the major challenges that I came across. I would also provide examples of the best work and some resources that they can access to improve in these aspects.

From all of this it has led me to my action plan which I will share in a later post! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about what I have posted above. I have just found reflecting on all of these strategies has been really helpful for guiding me to my next steps.

2 comments on “Testing out new strategies

  1. Laura Ross February 26, 2020 5:51 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    Your project sounds really interesting. Feedback is something we all grapple with and there is often not a one-size-fits-all solution. Google Read and Write sounds like it has real potential – I haven’t tried it yet. I have used Google Question in Classroom which is great for quick responses and immediate feedback. You could potentially use it at the beginning / end of class for some quick review.

    Some other things that might be worth a try are:
    – two point feedback takeaways – after you hand back a rubric, have your students condense the feedback into brief either/or doing well and work on for next time statements in a shared Google Doc.
    – exemplars beamed onto the screen – choose a student’s work / doc and project it onto the screen to share good work and suggestions. It is a nice compliment for the student and useful to illustrate what you mean for the rest of the class.
    – exemplars to peer mark – when you hand back a piece of work, photocopy an exemplar and share the rubric so that students can comment on what is good about it / any suggestions for next time. Explain that you chose it because it highlights something that you want them all to consider for next time. This can help students understand how rubrics are applied.

    I look forward to hearing more about your experiences as your project progresses.

  2. Brandon March 3, 2020 3:53 pm

    It’s evident that you are being thoughtful in engaging students with a variety of feedback methods. In doing so, hopefully you’re starting to see students appreciate and internalize the feedback that you’re providing. I’ve explored many of the strategies that you’ve listed above and would love to pick your brain at the next face-to-face to discuss how you approach feedback and assessment.

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