The teacher game has transformed tremendously since I was in elementary school…thank goodness. My mom was a room mom and I remember her coloring, cutting, laminating, die-cutting, and assembling elaborate bulletin board scenes with student names and pictures. The works! She graded piles of worksheets and stamped papers with ‘Good Work’ and ‘You are a Star’ and stapled a handful of student work samples to that intricately designed board. Fast forward 17 years to present day, bulletin boards in an urban classroom/hallway must meet a criteria assessed by school admin. It is all about accountability. How do you know your students know? Expectations include:
- Standards and objectives posted in student friendly language
- Authentic student work
- Authentic teacher created materials
- Rubrics for assessing student work
- Robust commenting
The criteria above is straight forward and all educators probably put in those components into their practices already…right? After district learning walks, it was apparent my school was right on track with expectations, however robust commenting is a work in progress in our building. Having a rubric is just not enough when assessing student work. Sorry mom, your ‘good job’ stamp and star stickers will not cut it in 2014.
What the heck is robust commenting? Effective feedback. Scribbling, circling, underlining, in that dreaded red pen is not effective feedback. Writing ‘good work’ and ‘excellent’ in purple gel pen is not effective feedback. Snaps for ProTip Wednesday: 10 examples of Effective Feedback and We Are Teachers: 9 Ways to Give (More Effective) Writing Feedback. These guys hit it right on the money with awesome tips to ensure robust commenting.
I’m a work in progress…I’ll post some of my robust comments after a little Sunday night grading.