Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Feedback for the Masses...

One of our six core teaching practices is providing appropriate feedback in writing and in speech on various tasks.   I believe this is important for students to improve and have some agency in their language development.  I want to do this consistently. I also have over 200 students... and growing.

Tracking student growth is a key part of this dilemma-especially in schools that use student growth as a benchmark for teacher compensation and retention.  How can I follow best practices and manage it with the numbers?  Here are some things I'm doing successfully and things I want to do, but...I want to hear from you: How are you doing it and managing the numbers?  I hear it at my state and regional conferences and at ACTFL -there are a lot of us out there working to figure it out.

I am using these techniques for 4th-8th grade,  from Laura Terrill:

1) Tracking progress:  I have a clipboard for each of my classes-with the unit can-do statements, and student names, so as I see/hear students complete tasks during the unit on assessments, I am checking them off.  I can use this to answer parent questions like "How is my child doing/How can they improve?"  I can look at the can do list to see what they can do so far.  (Below-my 7th grade roster)

2) Self-Assessments:  The students  receive a self-assessment for each unit,  pasted into their notebooks. The self-assessment form has the unit can-dos, and three columns: yes, with help, not yet.  Students can use this to monitor progress and have meaningful, specific conversations with me about where they are at. (Below-from my 5th grade, What is a Family? unit)

3) Task Rubrics:    At the bottom of each assessment is the rubric for that task(on an IPA-there may be three rubrics) so I can give very specific feedback to that student, on each area. (This one is an example from a 5th-6th grade unit on What the World Eats)

Listen to David from Spain:  http://www.audio-lingua.eu/spip.php?article934

List three foods he likes(in English)

1____________________________ 2___________________________


How does he feel about vegetables? ______________________________________________

Strong comprehension

Identifies the  complete    main  ideas(s) of the  text
Meets expectations

Identifies the key parts of the main  ideas(s)  of the  text but misses some elements.
Approaching expectations

Identifies some parts of the main  ideas(s) of the  text
No comprehension
Does not provide a response.    

Things I'm looking to do...

1) TALK scores:  This technique comes from Eileen Glisan and Judith Shrum, and looks at assessing interpersonal speaking focusing on target language use(and appropriateness to the situation), accuracy, listening and kindness(since I'm in Montessori, I really like that it includes kindness).  The idea is to circulate during interpersonal activities and listen for those four areas-assessing each student at least once during a two week or so period, trying to assess each student twice over the course of the unit.  Using the Glisan and Shrum model, I'm planning to use the rubric below that can be filled out quickly, and hopefully recorded quickly in my roster.

✓excellent!    + Good/Fair     - needs work

(T)arget Language

(roster view):
✓excellent!    + Good/Fair     - needs work
(T)arget Language


2) Class passports

 This feedback technique appeals to me for younger learners- first through third grade groups, in my case. Each child has a little booklet(passport)with their name and can do statements for the unit/units we're working on. As we progress through the unit, the child, working with the teacher, gets a stamp on their completed can-do, filling their passport with can-do stamps.  With so many children, this would require lots of work at the beginning, but once up and running, seems like it would be easy to integrate into the class practices.

Are you using any of these?  What are you doing to help give appropriate feedback in writing and in speech to your elementary learners?  I want to hear about what's working in your setting. 


  1. Great post, Valerie! I "only" have about 100 students and they're in middle school, so my situation is a bit different. I've been using the TALK rubric and love its focus. My post on that is here http://mmeblouwolff.weebly.com/revolutionized-teaching/interpersonal-boot-camp-using-the-talk-rubric. As for teacher Can-Do charts, I keep those too - but I actually assess each one in writing [exit card, etc.] to be really clear on exactly who can do what. It ends up counting for a large portion of students' term grade. This is a bit more time-consuming but I feel that it keep the students really focused on what they need to learn how to do. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

    1. Thanks for your contribution Rebecca! I will check out your post on TALK-I've introduced it to my 8th graders and I'm starting it this week. I'll keep you posted:)