One of the third grade classrooms in our building is working on a version of the cardboard challenge. I have been lucky enough to be part of this project and Monday was our feedback day. Last week students brainstormed wild ideas, looked for patterns and developed categories of creation, found groups, created an action plan complete with jobs, materials, sketches and a loose timeline, and created. Students were in the creation stage for about 3 days prior to play and feedback. Some projects were games some were displays some were functional robots but we used the word play - more of an exploration rather than a "test." Here is the process we used:
First, we set the purpose: To explore creations and give feedback to make each project stronger.
This included a discussion about the purpose of feedback - feedback isn't to fix what is WRONG, it is to find ways to make something BETTER. It was a distinction that is so important to state explicitly. We also reminded students that their feedback was to improve the existing project - not to suggest a different concept or idea.
Next we modeled the process:
- Choose a group representative to introduce your creation - identify any struggles you are having and the explorers will try to focus their feedback on brainstorming solutions.
- Find your first station and take a careful look (we suggested that they close read each project - walk around it slowly to see it from different perspectives, look at the details, etc.)
- Think - We suggested some guiding questions but the students didn't need the prompts.
- Play again
- Fill out feedback form: ONE heart (something that you loved) and ONE brain (something to think about or consider or try) We realized quickly that the students didn't need the language provided - an explicit model provided just enough support.
I am not sure I can describe the amount of thoughtful growth and learning that was visible throughout this feedback process. Students not only provided effective heart and brain feedback that fed each group forward but problems were solved in the moment. The students giving the feedback also pushed themselves to search for solutions and think creatively and critically about each different creation.
The real power was in the next day's work - the golden second opportunity. The classroom teacher had students analyze their feedback and search for patterns. Based on their findings each group made focused changes to their creations - their work was productive and purposeful. Students invited feedback givers to play again and offer even more feedback and they began thinking about their own projects and the hearts and brains they would give themselves.
How do your students give feedback?
More on heart/brain feedback:
Earlier this year I spoke to Larry Jacobs at Education Talk Radio about Student-led feedback. You can listen here.
Thank you for your support!