Monday, April 24, 2017

Leading your FAME team in learning to provide formative feedback

Whether you are new to the FAME project or you have been involved for a couple of years (or, like me, 9 years!) you have probably lamented on the task of giving feedback to students. Teachers feel it is a daunting task when considering time and energy. And it is. Even one of the gurus of the formative assessment process, Dylan Wiliam, is on record about how difficult it is to get feedback right. You can see from his chart below that based on the four ways students might respond to feedback, whether we give feedback about exceeding a goal or falling short of a goal, we have a 25% chance of getting it right! Yikes! 
Image result for feedback chart dylan wiliam
But rather than making us fearful, let's have it make us diligent in doing it the best way that we can. We know that the first step in making sure our feedback is well-received and well-used is all in the relationship we have with students. So if you aren't where you want to be in building trust in your classroom, work on that too!

Now, FAME coaches, you have been diligently practicing your Cognitive Coaching (SM) skills, I know. I am going to explain to you in this blog post how to adapt one of the activities in your CC training to do with your FAME team. That activity is the Five Forms of Feedback activity that you did on Day 4 of CC. 

I carried out the activity just the way it was done in the training...5 pieces of chart paper and inductive reasoning. Use page 78 of the CC Learning Guide if you want your team members to keep notes on the Five Forms (I didn't.) Then ask them to write examples of feedback that they might give to students or that they have received themselves. Give them a few minutes for this brainstorming. Then have them share while you chart them on the chart paper to which they go. Now, I will tell you that Jane and Carolee make this look easy. Give yourself permission to struggle with this and just do the best you can. Having some items in the wrong columns will not diminish the power of the activity.

After you have charted their examples, see if they can come up with examples AND where they should go. Eventually, you'll want them to try to name the columns, and you can give guidance on this part. At the end, you can give your team members pages 146-147 of the CC guide. (And if you are scared of the inductive activity, you can skip right to this handout.)

Discuss in more detail the Five Forms. There is nothing innately wrong with the first three columns, and there are times we want to "pass judgment" in the form of praise. But when we want to give actionable feedback and when we want to open and deepen students' thinking, we want to use the last two columns in an equation that looks like this:   data + mediative question = formative feedback

From here, with your team, you can look a little deeper into mediative questions. I teach my team members JUST the invitational part of mediative questions from page 64 of the CC guide. Then I also give them a copy of page 67-the mediative questions worksheet. (All page numbers in this blog may be off just a bit depending on the edition that you have.) My teachers LOVE the mediative questions worksheet and most of them post them in their classrooms where they can see them while they teach.

Next, in your meeting, you can spend some time taking those first examples of feedback that the team came up with and work together to craft them into feedback that looks like data + mediative question.

Also, remember that there is a feedback activity in the supplemental guide of the FAME Learning Guide. Some of you may have done this activity at the launch, but it is a great one to come back to. And I think it is even more powerful when looked at again after learning the Five Forms of Feedback.

And then it is crucial that your teachers go back into their classrooms and PRACTICE and then reflect and report back on that practice and reflection. And then, when they stress, and you stress, because this is hard (and it IS hard, let's not kid ourselves!), share this little piece of wisdom with them:
Image result for feedback chart dylan wiliam
Because we need to remember that the students are our partners in this journey and everything we do should be for and about them!

*Note: there is no right or wrong way to lead your meetings. If something I do with my team doesn't work for you, adapt it!
**Note #2: my meetings are two hours long. If yours are shorter, please do not attempt to accomplish all of this in one meeting!