Sunday, October 20, 2013

Making Feedback an Event

What does feedback look like in your context? How has giving and accepting feedback been modeled in your experience?

Peer Feedback is a powerful classroom tool for a variety of reasons. It helps foster a collaborative culture, exposes students to varying ideas and perspectives, serves as a form of positive peer pressure, and gives students an opportunity to put their best foot forward as they prepare their work for feedback. I believe feedback can also be used to teach content, and I want to improve the way we do feedback in my classes so we can maximize its benefit for our learning.

In this case students had prepared sketches of the models they were planning on building and animating to bring mitosis or meiosis to life. The models will have a QR code attached linking to a video which will explain the model and bring it to life either visually or orally. Although many of the sketches were not fully developed I believe students benefited from thinking through their plan and creating their sketch as well as by looking at the plans and sketches of others.

What I really enjoyed about this round of feedback was that it was very much an event (and for my purposes an excellent form of formative assessment). Students were asked to come with their sketches. Sketches were then touched up to ensure that they were self explanatory to viewers who were circulating by for 3 minutes at a time. Students then added to their sketches notes to guide the feedback. They also added comments to let the viewer know what they liked about their work, what was tricky, and what they thought they might do differently (a suggestion from a student-parent in my PLN, thanks Greg). Feedback then proceeded in 3 minute rounds (a time chosen based one total time available, but it actually worked quite well). This countdown timer was used to add an edgy, funky, fun structure to the event. Students enjoyed it, and agreed that it was comfortable, beneficial, and improved their knowledge of the content.

As we continually seek to improve the quality of feedback one of Dylan William's suggestions (from "Embedded Formative Assessment") I've enjoyed is to collect the post-it feedback afterward and post is on the board. Students are then encouraged to look at all the feedback and vote on which pieces are most useful to the reader.

At the end of the day I want the feedback experience to be valuable enough that students come prepared, and participate to the best of their ability to their own benefit and the benefit of their classroom. So, how can we do feedback better?

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