Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Reflecting on Feedback

Feedback matters.  Research from Rick Straub to John Hattie and Shirley Clarke and more confirms the importance of clear and timely feedback. I am really excited about shifts in my feedback practices. Let me nerd out a little bit about it, would you?
 Looking back, much of the feedback I received as a learner was a one-way: from teacher to learner.  Rarely did my teachers or professors step out of what Straub defines as "conventional roles of examiner, critic and judge" (92). Even with the growth and development of the writing process approach of the late 1970s and  the establishment of writing workshop approaches since Atwell first released In the Middle in 1987,  corrective or error-focused feedback was a common practice in public schools and universities.  More than ever, teachers take on roles of "reader, coach, mentor, fellow inquirer or guide"  as they respond to learners. My professor, Rick Straub certainly did as did all of the graduate assistants he trained to work at the Florida State University in late 80s, early 90s. That role shift grounds me.  When I respond to a writer as a "reader or fellow inquirer," feedback becomes a "conversation, a give-and-take dialogue" (Straub). The give and take, the seeking and receiving of feedback from learners. That's key.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Summative Assessment


"Okay, let's get started."

"Are you nervous," one student asks another.

I hear a high-pitch yes and see hand clutching and nervous jumping up and down out of the corner of my eye.

Students have an on-demand writing assessment today. Students write in between the lines above the directions and rubric in a Google document. 

Knowing I am deviating from the PLC's practice of giving the same passage to every student in a certain class period, I opened with, "Let me tell you how the assessment is put together."

"You will have the directions on one-side of the page in front of you, with a check list you can use before you submit. On the other side of the page is your passage. We will start with 10-15 minutes of close reading without our computers.  Everyone has a different passage and ---" 

A chorus of moans and groans interrupted me:




"Wait, what?" a student said.

"Everyone has a different passage," I repeated. "Is everything okay? You've got this. We've practiced. You're ready." Unbeknownst to students, I intentionally chose passages for each of them to align with thinking they've captured via Leticia Hughes' envelope analysis activities. They are not using their envelopes, nor are they using the one-pager of quotes and questions we used during a Socratic discussion; still, I am hoping ideas align.

"It's fine. It will be fine," one student says.

I was surprised by students' reactions.  What do you think they are expressing or reacting to, I wonder? 

The Slice of Life Story Challenge is hosted by the team at Two Writing Teachers
everyday in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Morning Routine in Verse

4:24 am 

Wake up.

Feed foster kittens.

Clean litter box.

Make coffee.

Start laundry. Iron.

Shower. Dress. Groom.

Pack for school.

Journal. Pray. Meditate.


Call Mom.

Chit. Chat. Chit. Chat. Cheep, cheep, cheep.

Add brother.

Chit. Chat. Chit. Chat. 

Watch kittens play.

Message husband.

Pump tires.

Herd kittens.

Change water.

Pack saddlebags.






                    c     o     a     s     t

down hill

        ring the bell, ring the bell

    down hill

               stay to the left, left, left

        down hill

                 bump across the grate, the stick, the groove in the walk

                 c     o     a     s     t

Take the corner.

Peddle, peddle, peddle

STOP at the street

Go. Peddle.



Walk up the drive into another school day.

6:50 am

The Slice of Life Story Challenge is hosted by the team at Two Writing Teachers
everyday in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year.