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Using Formative’s feedback to go beyond praising the effort to the deliberate mention of the skill that needs to be worked on and giving the tools needed to acquire that skill is invaluable. I often place links in the feedback and delay the grade in order to foster the idea of “act on this”.
Thanks for highlighting this part of the webinar. I must admit that in the past I might have focused too much on praising effort and hard work while neglecting that skills acquisition and application goes hand in hand with it.
I love this tip! This idea will definitely be explored more in Mark Barnes and Paul Solarz’s sessions as well.
This is a great resource in relation to the challenge of tying in skills acquisition and application. I love how it addresses SMART goals, soft skills, and academic skills all in one formative. Kudos to @freymuge for making it!
I teach math and I’m always talking about struggle being the ‘way’ you learn math. Math is like snow coming down and covering a sidewalk. You know you want to get to the end of the sidewalk, but the path isn’t very clear at first. So, you put forth some effort and ‘shovel’ the walk and the path becomes a little clearer. If you decide that you’re not going to practice math, it’s like letting that snow build up. It’s heavier, more solid and it’s harder to shovel out of your path. Practice math a little bit every day so you can get timely feedback. Ask questions as you go. All of this helps to shovel the sidewalk.
I’ve also started adding ‘yet’ to the ends of students’ negative statements. It’s amazing to watch their faces change when they go from “I can’t do this.” to “I can’t do this YET.” Faces relax and some students even smile. I talk often about a ‘magic number’ of problems that students need to see and struggle with a problem before they understand and have the “Oh, now I get it!” light-bulb moment. Also stress, especially in math, that you may strong in X but weak in Y… and that you may ask another student to help you understand Y, but then turn around and teach them X. When students make the comment early in a lesson “That’s so easy!” it can really shut down struggling learners. So I usually make comments about how their brains are ‘naturally wired’ for that topic. Students who struggle have brains wired a different way. I emphasize that the work they show and the questions that they ask are ways for me to figure out how their brain is wired to learn… and help them learn the concept their way.
I state over and over again, that I don’t expect students to have perfect scores, but I do expect them to grown. Many times I ask students to raise their hand or give a thumbs up if they feel better today than they did yesterday… or if I were to do that quiz again, I would get a better score. As long as students see themselves growing, they don’t give up.
I teach 5th grade to general and special education students. I think that the thought of praising the process as opposed to the person is a wonderful idea. I have just recently began to praise the strategies about how the students answered a question rather than just the student. I think I have a long way to go with this, but it’s the “YET” that keeps me going. I also thought about the student reflection piece and am thinking that its a better mode to work with within the middle school and high school grades. I feel that since we teach all subjects in the elementary buildings that would be extremely time-consuming to work through each curricular area. Do you have any thoughts about best practices for the younger grades?
Exactly! Focusing on that “power of yet” is something that is truly amazing. This helps them to get beyond the idea of I have to be perfect the first time to being okay with it taking a little bit longer to learn the material.
This is also why I don’t mind the idea of having students do retakes on assessments, or having them re-submit answers for something. I’m in a district where we use standards based grading, and there has definitely been a move in the student’s mindset to focus more on what can I still improve on.
I really think that the fixed vs. growth mindset needs to be addressed before students start worrying about chasing grades at the secondary level.
One of the things that I’ve done for my AP students is to have them rank how they feel about each of the standards that they will be assessed on for the unit. They have to do this the day they get the study guide (which is the day the unit starts), and then they reassess where they are when we have a reading quiz on the unit about halfway through, and then I ask them to reassess one last time 2 days prior to the test. That way they have a better idea of where they needed to focus their learning. I tell them that they should see some growth in most, if not all of the areas. I want them to feel confident coming in to the date of the exam. I also think that this helps them to build the ownership for the process because they can see their own growth in understanding as opposed to just seeing how they did on a quiz.
The power of the "YET"I has increasingly been discovered more often and is helping students climb the mountain. Celebrating the first attempts in learning and not being okay with an “IDK” encourages the process. Formative assessment has been a huge part of the journey and using a great tool like @goformative provides effective and timely feedback which is critical. Creating an environment where the focus is on the process also requires a growth mindset from the teachers as well. Great research and presentations like this one help feed the "YET"I in all of us.
I praise the students through formative and constructive feedback on their work samples. This allows students to be praised with the use of academic language. Students like these responses because they are never negative but always formative allowing student reflection and opens areas up for academic growth.
How about if you just start with one subject area? Perhaps the one that you think the most students haven’t developed a growth mindset towards? You could also consider focusing on soft skills that span multiple subject areas (ex: communication, problem solving).
I really like this strategy because in addition to helping students appreciate their own process, it also gives the teacher more information to give feedback and reinforce that focus on process rather than the person. Instead of saying, “you did so well…”, you can say, “your use of this skill has grown within the past two weeks…”.
@algonzales@lisastroud I did something similar in my class as well! I’d teach a general method to approach problem-solving in math and praise the steps they took as they learned to implement it on their own!