The Tuesday 12: 12 Resources All About Descriptive Feedback!

In this week’s edition of The Tuesday 12, we’ll be looking at resources to help teachers understand and incorporate descriptive feedback on a regular basis.  Just click on the links below to be taken to the resource.

1. “Descriptive Feedback” (video)

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to view the abundance of resources on the EduGAINS website, then I highly suggest you check it out right away! If you are struggling with assessment for and as learning, then this site has so many resources for your teaching and learning.

2. “Descriptive Feedback Fosters Improved Student Learning” (article)

This short two page article illustrates the importance of feedback by telling the story of one school’s journey to apply meaningful feedback (aside: this school is part of our board!).  Tips are given at the end to help teachers incorporate descriptive feedback in their classes.

3. “Descriptive Feedback at Winona” (blog post)

In this blog post, three different tools are used to provide descriptive feedback: Livescribe Pen, Google Docs, and Snowball Mic.  I like how technology is being used as the vehicle for providing descriptive feedback.

4. “A Focus on Informed Assessment Practices Webcast #3” (slideshow)

If you’re still unsure about assessment for learning, this slideshow takes you through the six areas of assessment for learning and provides examples of effective descriptive feedback.

5. “Feed Back…Feed Forward: Using Assessment to Boost Literacy Learning” (article)

I found this article by Anne Davies effective because it uses an example of a teacher going through the process of providing descriptive feedback with her students and how they together develop a list of “what good readers do” and then they created a recording sheet together.  What a meaningful and engaging way to make students active leaners and contributors!

6. “Descriptive Feedback Examples” (chart)

This chart provides three sample teacher comments for three different Social Studies assignments.  You’ll notice that for each teacher comment, it is directly tied to the specific curriculum expectation.  The comments provide positive aspects of the students work, as well as points of reflection, next steps, and areas to consider.

7. “Teachers Demonstrate Effective Descriptive Feedback” (video)

A great video to display descriptive feedback in action!

8. “Types of Feedback and Their Purposes” (Chapter 2 in the book “How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students”)

Susan M. Brookhart provides detailed information regarding various dimensions of feedback, including timing, amount, mode, and audience. For each dimension, she provides examples of good and bad feedback with a discussion explaining each set.

9. “Do You Coach or Do You Judge?” (blog post)

A great article about the key differences between assessment for learning (similar to the role of a coach) and assessment of learning (similar to the role of a judge).

10. “Lucy West: Why Feedback?” (video)

You all know by now how much I love Lucy West! The first video on the page is about feedback, but I’d watch all of them if I were you…Lucy West is that great!

11. “Let’s Talk Assessment…” (newsletter)

This is absolutely fantastic! It summarizes everything you need to know about effective feedback!

12. “Teaching and Learning; What works best” (research article)

A very thorough research article that looks at the impact various teaching innovations and methods have on student learning.  It references John Hattie’s research in 1992, which shows that the “most powerful single moderator that enhances achievement is feedback. The most simple prescription for improving education must be ‘dollops of feedback’” (p.4).

Atherton J S (2011) Teaching and Learning; What works best [On-line: UK] retrieved 4 March 2013 from http://www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/what_works.htm
Read more: What works best http://www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/what_works.htm#ixzz2MdWsMCXP
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

Lenten Trees: Helping see the good

Lenten TreeAs we are in the season of Lent, many Catholic teachers are working with students and developing their understanding of this very special season.  How Jesus’ sacrifice and love for everyone, works within us to be better people and a better world.  But sometimes, no matter how much we discuss, students go out for recess or lunch and come back in with tonnes of issues that they could not resolve themselves.  If you teach primary grades, then you know this all too well.  But don’t be surprised when the same happens in the junior and intermediate grades!  We need to re-direct their focus, find the good, find the peace, and develop a sense of family within our students. For this lenten season I make the following suggestion.  As students come in from their breaks, have them record a positive occurrence in the school yard that they were able to experience.  Maybe not everyone will have one, but they will definitely start looking for the good instead of the negatives.  You can use this as part of a discussion on how people solve problems, help others, do good deeds, the list is endless!  Now what you do with these recorded items?  Place them on the Lenten Tree.  You can definitely create what you see in the image with branches and construction paper, or if you have the space you can create a Lenten Tree on your wall where students can tape it on.  Just ensure you have the materials all prepared for students to be able to record as soon enough your tree will be overflowing with good deeds!

Image from http://lillightomine.com

The Tuesday 12: 12 Inspirational Dr. Seuss Quotes!

12 dr seuss quotes

In this week’s edition of the Tuesday 12, we’ll look at 12 inspirational Dr. Seuss quotes.  For each one, I have linked you to a graphic that displays the quote.  Just click each quote to see the graphic!

1. “Today you are you, that is true than true.  There is no one alive that is youer that you”

2. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

3. “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting so…get on your way!”

4. “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

5. “Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

6. “Young cat, if you keep your eyes open enough, the stuff you will learn! The most wonderful stuff!”

7. “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

8. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

9. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

10. “A person’s a person no matter how small!”

11. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

12. “From there to here, and her to there, funny things are everywhere.”

Want more words of wisdom from Dr. Seuss?  Here’s a great graphic that lists so many more!

Don’t forget to check back next week for another edition of the Tuesday 12!

Making Life Easier! Post-It Note Templates

A few years back, I purchased these excellent Post-It Notes that were pre-printed with various reading comprehension strategies.  For each strategy, a checklist was provided for students or teachers to check off while reading over the student response.  These Post-Its were very useful, but also very expensive.  The other problem I had was that I really wanted to use Post-Its for other reasons, so I really wanted to find some way to customize them.  I found a really great product on Teachers Pay Teachers that allows you to customize Post-It Notes.

Janice Malone has three {FREE} templates to print on Post-It Notes depending on the size of your notes:

Standard

Mini

Large

The process is super simple:

  • pen up the template
  • print off a blank copy (this will be used to place the blank Post-It Notes)
  • type or place a picture in the blank area of each box
  • place the Post-It Note covered template into your printer
  • print!

I used this template to create a checklist for my students to go along with our Article of the Week assignments. 

post it note photo

I love Post-It Notes, so the possibilities are endless!

The Tuesday 12: Feel the Love with 12 Fabulous February Science Freebies from TPT!

During the month of February, The Tuesday 12 will be featuring 12 FREE resources available on TPT! Click on the title of each resource to be brought to the TPT listing.  You need a TeachersPayTeachers accound to download the free items.  If you don’t have a TPT account, what are you waiting for?! It’s free!  The description for each item is taken from the listing description on its TPT page. Don’t forget to check out the other awesome resources from these teacher sellers!

12 february science freebies

1. “Going on a Matter Walk” by Martha Sosa

“{FREEBIE} This product was one of my top sellers! Now it’s free for you and your students to enjoy! 🙂 Students use this booklet (copy front to back) to record the solids, liquids and gases they observe while on a discovery walk around the school.”

2. “Life Cycle Sequencing Cards—Butterfly, Frog and Ladybug!” by Curriculum Castle

“These sequencing cards are a great visual aid for children who are just beginning to learn about the life cycles of a butterfly, frog or ladybug! Simply have them color, cut and arrange the cards in the correct order. They can even make a mini book about each animal’s life cycle.
These simplified cards are perfect for Pre-K and K students!”

3. “Weather Unit (Science Fun for Pre-School – 3rd Grade)” by Living Life Intentionally

“This Weather Unit is intended for Preschoolers – 3rd Grade. It includes a wide variety of activities, experiments, worksheets and more:
– Water Cycle (including experiments)
– Seasons (including creative writing)
– Temperature (differences in sun/shade, morning/afternoon, here/other countries)
– Weather Graphing
– Hot/Cold
– Hibernation
– Clouds (including experiments)
– Wind (including experiment & activity)
– Disaster Preparedness (including drill ideas)
– Preschool Skill Practice (letters – upper/lowercase, shadow match, counting, pre-writing, colors, numbers, which is different, fine motor scissor skills, addition, sentence structure, and more)
Kids learn best when they are having fun!! My goal is to provide a fun way to reinforce, review and teach sight words to kids.”

4. “Polar Bear Science” by Crayonbox Learning

“A fun science experiment where the question “Does ice melt faster in salt or fresh water?” is answered. Geared toward ages K-2nd grade.
This freebie includes a teacher guide, pocket chart graphing including header card and answer cards, tally mark sheet, record sheet, observation sheet, polar bear facts, polar bear writing practice!”

5. “Super Science Experiments” by Sparkles Smiles and Successful Students

“Looking to spruce up your science curriculum, or have an AWESOME science fair project well you have come to the right place!
This collection of truly Super Science Experiments is just for you! It contains chemistry experiments, experiments on matter, physics, and much more1
Includes:
– 70+ science experiments and demo guides
– detailed descriptions
– pictures of experiments
– material lists
These are only the experiments I thought would be the absolute coolest ones and that students would enjoy doing!”

6. “Penguins” by Penny Waddingham

“Interactive Penguin story along with science activities,recording sheet and physical education game.”

7. “Scientific Method for Young Learners” by Wild About Teaching

“Young students love to act like scientists!
This pack includes posters, 1/4 page cards to sequence and a generic science experiment recording sheet.
If you enjoy this pack, check out my other science packs I have available!”

8. “Science Acrostics Freebie” by The Science Penguin

“Thanks for checking out this file, Science Acrostics Freebie! I hope that these 12 pages will help your students use their higher order thinking skills to find phrases that describe each item. With an acrostic poem, you use each letter of a word as the first letter of a phrase.
Ideas for Use:
~ Create a bulletin board with your acrostics.
~ Use along with a craft.
~ Use after a lab activity.
~ Use after reading the textbook or a read aloud trade book.
~ Use as partner work in a center.
~ Fold and include in science notebooks.
~ Use as review before a quiz.”

9. “Science Fair Project Planner” by Upper Grades are Awesome

“This science fair project planner is designed for group science fair projects. In the past my students struggled with each component and how to put them together to design and create their science fair project. Using this as a guide students are more confident through the process and complete higher quality work. Included is an agenda of target due dates that the students fill in to help keep them on track. Each step of the science fair project is included with a brief description/directions and a space for students to fill in. Students will also benefit from guidelines on putting together their science fair board. Finally, I have included the scoring rubric (based on the one my district uses).”

10. “Trash to Treasure—Free Activities & Lesson Using Recycled Items” by SciPi

“This FREE Trash to Treasure handout is an eight page booklet that features clever ideas, fun and engaging mini-lessons in addition to cute and easy to construct crafts made from recycled or common, everyday items. In this resource, discover how to take old, discarded materials and make them into new, useful, inexpensive products or tools for your classroom.
Learn many out-of-the-ordinary ways to use milk lids for math. Did you know two plastic beverage lids can be made into card holders for kindergartners or for those whose hands are disabled? Discover how to use butter tubs to create a fun indoor recess game that practices math skills. How about practicing math facts using egg cartons?
Because these numerous activities vary in difficulty and complexity, they are appropriate for most classrooms, and the visual and/or kinesthetic learners will love them.”

11. “Biology Lab: Simple DNA Extraction” by Science Stuff

“This is one of my favorite labs/activities that I do with my Biology I students. It doesn’t take long to do, it uses very simple, household materials, and it works every time! There is no number crunching or data analysis, but just a fun activity that your students will really enjoy.
NOTE: This product is also available in a bundled product called Biology Labs: 15 Must Do Labs for a Biology Class .
You will use ordinary Dawn dishwashing detergent and alcohol to extract the DNA from the cells of wheat germ. The download will include a lab handout that is ready to be copied and passed out to your students. Includes: Title, Introduction, Purpose, Safety Precautions, Procedure, and Follow Up Questions.
I have also included a “Teacher Preparation” page with answers to the questions and some additional set up information.
I use this with my high school Biology students, but this activity can easily be done with middle school students.”

12. “Luring Leprechauns—A Simple Penny Experiment” by Jamie Woodward

“This science activity includes directions and explanations for the experiment, two recording sheets and a place mat for the pennies. This science experiment can be completed as a whole group or in small groups. Your students will love “luring leprechauns” into their classroom. I would love your feedback!”

Don’t forget to check back next week for another edition of The Tuesday 12:  February Freebies!

Helping Students Make Meaningful Connections Using Kelly Gallagher’s Article of the Week Strategy

“Part of the reason my students have such a hard time reading is because they bring little prior knowledge and background to the written page. They can decode the words, but the words remain meaningless without a foundation of knowledge” (Kelly Gallagher)

In one of my previous posts, I explained how I use Kelly Gallagher‘s excellent resource, “Teaching Adolescent Writers” (2006), in order to help my students learn how to write effectively.  In our school, we run TLCP (Teaching-Learning Critical Pathways) cycles focusing on a particular reading strategy throughout the year.  Currently, we are focusing on making connections, where students are to read a text and then respond to it by either making a text-to-self, text-to-text, or text-to-world connection. I often find that students will only skim the surface when making connections and I really want them to work on making a deeper and more meaningful connection to the text. Students have a difficult time making meaningful connections to texts because they lack sufficient experience and background knowledge.

Kelly Gallagher has developed an excellent strategy to assist with this dilemma: the Article of the Week.  The premise may be simple, but the effect is profound. Each Monday, students are given an article to read.  At the top of each article, Gallagher provides the following strategy:  “1. Mark your confusion.  2. Show evidence of a close reading. Mark up the text with questions and/or comments.  3. Write a one-page reflection on your own sheet of paper” (from kellygallagher.org/resources/articles.html).  At the end of each article, Gallagher provides possible written response topics.  A new article is provided each week with the same framework.

In my opinion, this strategy is perfect in every way:

  1. Students are provided with an article on a high interest topic that will capture their attention and motivate them to read (hopefully!)
  2. Topics can change each week and can reflect current events, student interest, or connect to other curriculum topics
  3. The reading strategy is consistent with each article (the three steps provided at the top of each article)
  4. Students are provided with a consistent task, where they apply their skills on a regular basis
  5. Students and teachers can easily monitor student progress by reviewing weekly responses over a certain time period
  6. Students will be building their knowledge base and be provided with the background to make meaningful connections when reading other texts
  7. This activity can easily be scaffolded with teachers slowly removing direct support when students become much more sufficient in breaking down the text and responding to it
  8. Differentiated instruction is easily attainable, as students can receive different articles on the same topic but at different reading levels or teachers can continue to provide more support to struggling students, while other students are able to work more independently
  9. Assessment for and as learning are addressed on a regular basis, as teachers can keep track of student comprehension, learning, and skill development, while students can use self-assessment to determine how well they are applying their reading comprehension strategies over time.

Kelly Gallagher has provided years worth of archives for the Article of the Week. The Articles of the Week are further subdivided according to the grade level Gallagher taught when that article was used. Since Gallagher teaches high school English, many of the articles are a bit too difficult for my grade 7 and 8 students.  Not a problem, as I have been scouring various sources for interesting articles that I can use in my own classroom.  Even if you do not teach high school English, this approach will work with your students, as the framework is extremely effective and focused on improving student reading comprehension in a regular and methodical manner.