Effective, descriptive feedback and assessment with GAFE

This post cross-posted here and on http://personalizinglearning.ca

 

I had the opportunity to work with an AMAZING group of English and Language teachers from MSS and PSS today. Todays session has been in the works all year. A few things led us to this day:

  • one of the teachers in our TLLP (Robin) came back from ECOO very excited about using Google Drive for effective feedback in the writing process
  • our school board opened up Google Apps for Education for our students and teachers
  • we visited Derrick Schellenberg and his TLLP crew at Sir William Mullock SS in Newmarket and observed them using Google Apps for awesome peer and teacher feedback
  • our Program Dept. supported our collaboration through their Tech Hub program after we spent all of our TLLP budget
  • most importantly and to be certain, my colleagues are an AMAZING group of teachers

What impresses me so very much is that even though today involved a LOT of procedural step-taking and technology tool use, the focus and the passion was really about effective feedback and how to revolutionize our classrooms to support student learning. Our heads exploded about 3 times per hour. We ranged from first-time Google Docs users to “living in the cloud” (chromebook) users.

Below is a list of the steps and stages we used from a technology point-of-view (and resources to support them). However, I am not sure how to put into words the real learning from today. The sharing of ideas and strategies for class assignments and assessment was fascinating. The energy in the room even though our heads were spinning, was contagious. What really resonated for me was this group of teachers’ excitement for the continuous feedback cycle where feedback leads to improvement which leads to more feedback and more improvement and only then to a final assessment.

(This way too long 25-minute video provides an overview of the entire process )

GAFE Descriptive Feedback from Jac Calder on Vimeo.

 

From a technological point of view, here is what we looked at today.

  1. Used Google Chrome as our browser (installed it if not already on device)
  2. Activated our SCDSB Google Apps account if not already done
  3. Create a folder for your class in Google Drive
  4. Create a master spreadsheet for each class. Include the following headings: Last Name, First Name, school email address. (If we needed a list of class usernames we had to find someone with PowerSchool access to run this report)

  5. Create a Google Group for class (this allows you to share a document or send an email to the entire class by adding only one email address. It also lets you remove a student from the group which removes access to all those documents you shared, if needed).
  6. Use Doctopus to send shared assignment files to students

    • copy your master spreadsheet and put it in a folder named for your assignment (last name, first name, email)
    • create the master assignment file (docs, drawing, presentation, spreadsheet) and put it in your assignment folder
    • run the doctopus script to send the assignment to students
  7. Use Kaizena to provide audio feedback and differentiate student next steps in learning (by attaching different resources to different student work) in student writing. Video resource: http://youtu.be/pHXD9xeztZc

  8. Use Goobric to assess student work
    1. Create a rubric in a Google Sheet (spreadsheet)
    2. Install Goobric
    3. Run the script from within the students assignment

 

Next Steps 

We didn’t quite get through everyone getting Goobric up and running, so ideally we will be able to book our next meeting for after we have student work in their files and we’ve given them some descriptive, effective feedback. Then we will be able to use our Goobric rubric (can you say that ten times fast?) to do a checkpoint or final assessment. Hopefully at this point we can share what worked in this process and talk about how our feedback worked to improve student learning.

Lastly, we’d love to share something else we observed at SWMSS, (Derrick’s class) at risk of more heads exploding. His students were running seminars in groups and were using Google Presentations. Each student in the class was following along during the presentation and could choose to verbally ask questions and comment, or they could also provide feedback right within the presentation file. It was empowering. Andrew (from PSS) spent a lot of time talking to the students in this class and we can’t wait to bring that forward to the group.

 

Biology in Fiji eBook

Last summer I travelled to Fiji with a class of biology students. As part of their final assessment they co-created an eBook “Biology in Fiji”.

It has taken me quite a while, but I have finally got it up in the iTunes store. It can be found HERE.

Student blogs from the course are linked on this course blog HERE.

What I Learned Today: The Power of Support in Sharing #OSSEMOOC

Last week Donna Fry challenged us to share. Through this #OSSEMOOC post, she asked us to write a blog post about what we learned today.

The day that Donna sent out this challenge I had spent the day working with a TLLP team in my school around the next steps of our project. The first order of the day was to share what we had learned already. Each teacher wrote a blog post while we were all in the same physical room. For many of us, this was one of our first blog posts. Our goal was to share at least one good thing that had happened in our classroom as part of our journey towards 1:1 BYOD Blended Learning.

Teachers shared posts about the following classroom activities on our TLLP blog http://personalizinglearning.ca/.

What I learned from the process was the power of support in sharing. As we all sat together in the workroom and people learned how to work the blog platform, embed samples of student work and write up their learning in an engaging manner, teachers talked and chatted. Many felt that they didn’t have anything exciting to share, but once we started talking, others in the group jumped on board and started encouraging each other. Pointing out the great practices that were embedded in their classroom activities and how they may adapt the activities to fit other subject area and classes. Teachers even commented on each others blog posts. The atmosphere was amazing, supportive and critical.

What really resonated with me during the process was the importance of support (moral and technical) to start sharing. We talk about the importance of sharing the good things happening in our classrooms, and becoming connected educators – but how often do we embed the time and support to do the actual sharing as part of our professional development.

This morning of sharing and supporting one another has to be one of my favorite days working with colleagues.