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Creating a dialogue about what it’s like to be a new teacher.

The Rookie Teacher


Giving Feedback Part 1

Posted on November 20, 2011 by Andrew Blake

Giving feedback, and in particular specific and actionable feedback, is the big push as a goal for teachers in my school as well as our Board. As an opener to the topic at our most recent PD Day, one of the principals shared this analogy made by the comedian Jerry Seinfeld…

“I always did well on essay tests. Just put everything you know on there, maybe you’ll hit it. And then you get the paper back from the teacher and she’s written just one word across the entire page, ‘vague.’ I thought vague was kind of vague. I’d write underneath it ‘unclear’ and send it back. She’s return it to me, ‘ambiguous’. I’d send it back to her, ‘cloudy’. We’re still corresponding to this day…. hazy…. muddy…” Jerry Seinfeld

As a Primary Teacher, our Grade team created a framework that we shared with our students to make sure they understood our feedback and could use it to help inform and improve their learning. We made it with a visual diagram and used common language in the hope that students would be able to use it on their own.

Our analogy breaks our feedback into three parts, on the theme of Pirates and Treasure.

secret by MistoAcrilico

Secret by MistoAcrilico (flickr)

First, we look for “Treasure” in what they have done: the things really stand out as amazing aspects of a student’s written work.

Second, we look for the “X Marks the Spot”: where could students find their next treasure (one thing they could improve on).

Finally (and what I would say is the most important aspect) is the “Map”: we as teachers have to give them advice and direction on how to get to the next set of “Treasures”.

We are currently in the process of gradually releasing that idea to the students to see if they can self or peer assess using that framework. I’ll let you know how it works over the next few weeks in my classroom.

In my next post I’ll list other acronyms, mnemonic devices and strategies for feedback that were presented at the PD Day.

Looking forward to your feedback!
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