Pages

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Slice #18-Thinking about feedback…

Tonight I'm thinking about feedback…

I got up early this morning and read writing that our kids had done on an assessment that our district uses three times a year. We did it last week, two weeks before our state's "blessed event." Some of the writing looked really good. But a lot of it did not look that good at all.

So now I'm thinking, "OK, I have to give people feedback. I have to give feedback to kids and I have to give feedback to teachers."

And I know it's a matter of staying calm. Of breathing deep. Of finding that one good thing that the writer/writing teacher did and building on that one thing. Of looking forward to the next teaching point, the next desired success. Over and over and over again.

But how do I do that for A, a student's who entire essay consists of three quotes that he lifted from the text. The quotes might work, if he can explain that. But how I explain that in a way that makes sense to him?

And how do I address half of the third grade class, who wrote short constructed responses instead of the five paragraph essay they were supposed to write? And whose typing is simply not that good yet? And who still are not using their and there correctly?

And how do I address those almost successes- those kids who aren't there yet, but whose approximations are pretty strong, and are just in need of a little tweaking, and they might even be proficient, if they get a decent prompt? Or those kids that write really, really well and just need to buckle down and bring it on the day(s) of the test.

I need to be calm, and encouraging, and affirm the success/progress we have made so far. I need to think about what one thing we could put into place that would make the biggest difference. 

And how do I talk to their teachers? Adults who have poured their hearts and souls into teaching kids to  write. Adults who know that it takes a lot of slow to grow. Adults who need to teach their hearts out for the next two weeks, but then let it go, knowing that they have done the absolute best that they can. How do I communicate the urgency of the situation and yet not send a message that is critical or stressed or unkind or accusatory? How can I help us stay together and push forward and do our best for the next two weeks?

I need to be calm, and encouraging, and affirm the success/progress we have made so far. I need to think about what one thing we could put into place that would make the biggest difference. 

And then I am thinking about my own sons, limping their way into manhood. How do I affirm the positive aspects of their character? How do I communicate that I love them, but that I will not allow them to live in our home and do nothing? How do I help them understand that some things may be legal, but are not necessarily profitable.

I need to be calm, and encouraging, and affirm the success/progress we have made so far. I need to think about what one thing we could put into place that would make the biggest difference. 

Tonight I'm thinking about feedback…

5 comments:

Ashley Brown said...

Wow, you've given me a lot to think about around feedback. Writing, and what kids write and why they're disengaged and why they aren't where we'd like them to be, has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. Keep at it!

Tamara Jaimes said...

The stakes are so high in every single instance of feedback you mentioned. Your words--your mantra--is one I wish everyone would adopt. Everyone giving my students feedback, everyone giving my son feedback, everyone giving me feedback. They are words keep relationships, agency, and dignity in tact. that And because that is true, they are words I will use to remind myself.

Readingteachsu said...

The stakes are high but we keep moving forward. All forward is progress. Everything is data to think about the next learning.

Ramona said...

I love the repeated mantra throughout this post. And the words: "It takes a lot of slow to grow." Wise words for all of us to think about. Thinking of you and those you want to inspire to move forward during the next two weeks. You can do this!

elsie said...

I know your heart sinks when you consider what the students (and your sons) have done. But also, consider where they started from. See the growth, even if that's not what the state sees. Yes, your mantra is just what you need to hang onto your sanity. I know your boys aren't living the life you wanted for them. There is no easy solution for this situation.