My administrator has been participating in the #LeadLap ANCHOR conversations challenge and it has been awesome.
I am incredibly thankful that she took on this challenge and already feel as though I have become a better educator because of it. Not to mention I’m smiling even more than usual which is always good. My co-worker then started having ANCHOR conversations with her students.
This challenge has allowed me to do some reflecting on my own when it comes to the art of feedback. I feel as educators we crave feedback or at least someone taking a moment to either praise or ask you how you did that. I know that providing my students with ongoing and effective feedback is just as important! During my student teaching experience, my cooperating teacher reminded me that I need to remember students crave feedback just as much as adults do. I feel we often get bogged down with all that is on our plate that we forget to stop and take a moment to reflect, provide feedback, and notice something wonderful. We need to remember that if we have full plates, so do our students. We need to pause and take a moment to really notice and appreciate each student. This can feel daunting because we often, as Donalyn Miller states, turn conferencing with students into a math problem. We have to get through this many students in this amount of days or we have failed. However, we need to instead think of this as on-going and constant. Once you are done you start again. There is no failing.
When giving students feedback for learning, I have learned that it needs to be instant, constant, and ongoing. Students need to hear from us early, often, when they start, when they finish, and during the process. Feedback needs to have a focus. For example, when I am conducting content conferences during writer’s workshop, I only focus on what the writing does: the content and words of their piece. In editing conferences, I look only at conventions. This allows for students who excel in these areas to feel praise and students who may not excel, not feel as overwhelmed. I have loved the whole concept of CFAs (common formative assessments). Quick ways to check in on my student’s progress. My coworker came up with the idea of laminating index cards. Students record thoughts on the card and then put back in a central location. I take a quick glance and can instantly tell which students grasped concepts and which students need extra support. I love being able to have this quick way to assess, so I can then focus on providing my students with effective feedback on their learning.
I also love using my blog as a way to provide feedback on learning. When I flip the classroom and post videos to watch on the blog, students then are required to post a comment that either answers a problem with in the video or relates to the video. I have made it a goal this year to then respond to each student’s comment. Within the comment, I try to highlight something they did well as well as pose a question that is related to that particular student’s growth. The questions will range in level of difficulty depending on the needs of that student. I feel this has increased student engagement and participation which then in turn has impacted our learning.
In February, I will embark on a 1:1 pilot using Google Touch Chromebooks in my classroom. I am looking forward to learning and discovering even more ways I can provide fabulous feedback for learning.