Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Student Feedback and Notability

By Mark Heintz

A few weeks ago, Linda Ashida posted on Katie Owen's innovative idea of sharing Notability notes to students.  You can read her post here.  Lately, I have been using this practice to increase student engagement and feedback.   Also, as the school rapidly comes to a end, time is precious.  Using shared notes increases classroom time because students are not spending time copying information from one place to another.  Therefore, more time is spend in the analysis of student work and providing feedback.

I recently used this strategy through a list of topics/terms on the USSR and CCP.  I shared the note with the students, and I asked them to move the information to either category.  They could copy the terms to place under both groupings.  When they finished, students shared their work via AppleTV. This practice enabled the class to go through the answers and provide feedback on their selections.  The entire task took only a few minutes to create and a few minutes for the students to attempt.  The discussion that followed the assignment was rich. Since the activity only took a few minutes, there was time that allowed for students to ask questions on why a term was in a specific category.  At the end, some students had a list of terms they needed to look up for further review.  Next time I do this activity, I will ask the students to use the words to draw comparisons.

Another example of this practice comes from a first year teacher, Kristen Gierman.  To help students writing, Kristen created a note that contained elements of a paragraph.  She wrote one main idea statement that the students located and move to the top of the page.  Then, the students went through all of the other statements to determine which were the best support of the main idea.  The students simply erased the ones that were off topic and moved the ones in support to the order they belonged in the paragraph.

The students shared theirs versions of the paragraph and defended the placement of the statements to the class. It was great to see the students evaluating work and seeing their rationale. Many of the students understood the necessity for clarity in their writing and often cited that as a reason to exclude some pieces of evidence. At the conclusion of the activity, the students wrote their own paragraph.  The writings were some of the strongest I have seen students create in my nine years as a teacher.  It was great to see the students use the structure, clarity, and use of strong evidence from the example in their own writing.   

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