Friday, August 19, 2016

It's a new day! Consider Thinking and Feedback.

We teachers all have that sense of a new day and a new start at this time of year. How fortunate we are! We have the chance to start over, to begin anew, to correct the missteps of the past, and best of all, to make a real difference in the lives of our students.

As we set goals for this school year I would like to suggest an idea. I'll begin with some questions:

  • What would happen if student work were less time-bound and more revision-bound?
  • What if a project or a problem did not have to be finished/solved by the end of the class or the day?
  • What if students learned to give and receive helpful feedback ?
These are elements of a structure we used in our Kindergarten literacy and learning project last year. It was amazing to watch young learners become increasingly more articulate at giving suggestions and watch their peers thoughtfully accept all or parts of the suggestions. Even better was the motivation and engagement they showed with revision and ownership of learning. If you have never seen it, watch Austin's Butterfly for a wonderful example of this process in action.Find it here  or simply Google Austin's Butterfly. It is well worth the six minutes.

For more information on how to structure Thinking and Feedback in the classroom visit BPS where the entire Boston Public Schools K curriculum is available. Although this structure is embeded in the BPS K curriculum (called Focus K2), it may be applied to any grade for project work, research, writing, and whatever your creative talents envision.

As you set your own goals this year, think about having students set goals - really specific goals that they can revisit throughout the term and perhaps revise or build upon as the year progresses. Thinking and Feedback could be a very helpful way to work toward and achieve learning goals.

Good luck!