Last week I went into a fifth grade classroom to observe their reading workshop. Several classrooms in our building have been working on student engagement, ownership and student-led discussions. When I walked into the room, something incredible happened...
THE STUDENTS ASKED FOR FEEDBACK!
Their teacher handed me a list of specific look-fors that they wanted feedback on. She had done meaningful, hard work structuring, modeling and supporting her students and they wanted to continue to move themselves forward through feedback. I was a participant in their student-led discussions, carefully observing and taking focused notes.
Overall impressions? I was blown away. The excitement and pride in the room was palpable. Students were engaged and taking ownership over their thinking and learning and every voice was heard. I heard language that built discussion and challenged thinking. Language to include each student and encourage risks. I heard and I saw learning.
Following the discussion, using their questions and look fors, I shared things that were really working with the students. And then another incredible thing happened...they asked what they could work on. I was planning on sharing something to work on but was floored by their dedication to getting better, by their ownership over their practice and by the culture of feedback. The students were leading their learning. When I gave the the class something to consider several students took notes and all heads were nodding. They were using this as an opportunity for growth. After that visit more classrooms have asked for feedback and the results have been the same. The culture of practice and student ownership is inspiring and I cannot wait to learn more from the students in our building.