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

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.

Grade 4/5 Science Unit: Pulleys and Gears & Forces acting Upon Structures and Mechanisms

Gr 4:5 badgeWe have been hard at work!  Here is another great science unit for Grades 4/5.  Our first unit on Habitats and Communities and Human Organ Systems was a great success.  With great feedback from other teachers, we know that you find our products engaging, thorough and distinguished!

This new unit is a cross curricular Gr. 4/5 Science Unit  which allows teachers to meet the Ontario Science curriculum expectations all the while teaching a split grade!  Our science unit: Pulleys and Gears (4) & Forces Acting Upon Structures and Mechanisms(5)  combines the following overall big ideas:

  • Machines, mechanisms, and structures are designed to improve efficiency or simplify tasks
  • Forces act on and within structures and mechanisms
  • Mechanical systems have various impacts on society and the environment

Our Lessons include the following:

  • Learning centres: students work in small groups or individually to rotate between four centres over the course of the activity (four types of centre activities: technology, reading/writing activity, creative response, and a fun or hands-on activity);
  • Whole class lesson/discussion followed by either small group activities or whole class activity

Our unit is cross-curricular and integrates the following subjects:

  • Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, Media Literacy)
  • Math
  • 21st Century Learning
  • Art

We have many activities that are both engaging and active.  Differentiated instruction is also key and diverse assessment methods are incorporated.  We hope you find this unit useful for your classroom.

Here is a preview of our Gr 4/5 Science Unit.  Click on the picture above and you will be taken right to the full product!

Super Duper Donut Fun! Circle Investigations Using Donuts!

In a previous post, I mentioned how my students have been learning about the circumference and area of a circle.  We have been doing several activities in our math journals, completing math centres for extra practice, and reviewing for our test.  Since this has been a really fun unit and my students have been doing well, I decided to have a fun and rewarding end of unit activity.

We will be investigating the radius, diameter, circumference, and area of a circle by measuring donuts! The following booklet contains the teacher resource, student booklets (two versions using “donut” and “doughnut”), and donut images if you cannot or choose not to use actual donuts in the activity.

Click on the image below!

super duper donut badge

Part 3 of 3: Music and the Social and Emotional Development of the Child

Music and the Social and Emotional Development of the Child

This is the last part of a 3 – part post.  Music has always fascinated me and to understand that it has great value in the physical, cognitive and emotional development of a person makes it more intriguing.  My first two posts were entitled:  The Effects of Music on the Brain and Music and its Value in Education (click on the links to be brought to those posts), todays post discusses how Music develops the child socially and emotionally.   The basic reason that every child must have an education in music is that music is intrinsically woven into our daily lives and within society as a whole.  Every human culture uses music to carry forward its ideals and concepts.  Music possesses the ability to shape individual abilities and character and contributes to broadening the students’ understanding and appreciation of the world around them. Through music, educators can introduce students to the richness and diversity of the social constructs of the world.   It allows for the development of  “self esteem as a learner, long-term pursuit, empathy, self assessment, peer and parent collaboration” (New England LTM Conservatory, 2003, p.12).  Studying music encourages self-discipline and diligence, traits that carry over into intellectual pursuits, which lead to effective study and work habits. Essentially, we as educators must realize that music is about communication, creativity and cooperation and by integrating music within the school, our students will have the opportunity to build on these skills, enrich their lives and experience the world from a new perspective.

We hope that you find today’s post and the previous posts of value.  Have you attempted to integrate Music into your curriculum delivery?  What suggestions, advise or ideas do you have?  Share, so together we can grow and learn.

 

The Circumference and Area of a Circle: Student Learning Centres

When we return to school next week, my students and I will continue to explore the circumference and area of a circle.  We had begun to work on circumference prior to Christmas holidays and my students seem to be grasping the concepts well.  We did a GREAT activity in our math journals (I’ll post that soon) and that helped them to understand Pi, circumference, radius, diameter, and the circumference formula.  We will work on the area of a circle when we return.  After introducing the concept of area through a few math journal activities (more on the next week), we’re going to amalgamate, explore, and review these concepts through math centres.  I’ve created the following math centres to help students apply the skills and concepts they are learning about circles and have some extra practice activities.  Student worksheets are included in this package.

There are five math centres:

  • Reviewing the Circumference and Area of a Circle
  • Circumference Extra Practice
  • Area of a Circle Extra Practice
  • Calculating Radius and Diameter
  • Circumference and Area Word Problems

Students will take part in the following activities:

  • extra practice questions
  • practice using proper problem solving format (record given information from the question, formula, calculations, and final statement)
  • solving word problems
  • working backwards using algebra to determine the radius and diameter when given the area or circumference
  • developing their own word problems to trade and solve with a partner
  • review sheets to aid in recapping and studying

Just click on the image below!

circumference and area