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.