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Three Simple Frameworks for Feedback

Here at Floop, we’re all about creating effectivefeedback systems that mix different strategies to best meet your students’ needs. This post is part of a series sharing simple feedback strategies.

When giving or receiving feedback, using a structured framework helps keep the feedback constructive and balanced. Here are three of my favorite feedback methods, all of which are general enough to be used for any situation.

Plus (+) / Delta (Δ)Pluses are positive things to keep or repeat, while deltas (the Greek character often used to represent change) are changes to make in the future. To use the plus/delta framework, create a T-chart to log pluses and deltas. Here’s the key: deltas must be action-oriented, meaning they are positively framed actions versus negative complaints. A simple example is when giving feedback on student presentations, say “please speak louder” instead of “you’re mumbling.”
Download the Plus/Delta feedback form, printed two to a page. I like…, I wish…, What if…To use …

Set High Expectations Using Whole Class Feedback

If you have 20 minutes in class, here’s a quick exercise to set expectations for student work. By showing student examples and facilitating a class discussion, I turned students' observations and feedback into their own list of expectations. In my class, students are working on documentation skills, but I can see this exercise for any repeated skill such as graphing in math, note taking in history, or writing lab reports in science.

Early on, I stress the importance of thorough documentation in Engineering. Students do an activity where they build cardboard cars given instructions, but the instructions are so bad that the cars totally flop! From there, we have a discussion about what should be included in thorough documentation.

When they revised and redesigned the cardboard cars, they documented their new process. I gave them very little instruction and just two general mantras: 1) “If your mind was wiped, would you be able to recreate your own work?” and 2) “If it’s not in your no…

Stamp As You Go - A Simple Feedback Strategy

Here at Floop, we’re all about creating effective feedback systems that mix different strategies to best meet your students’ needs. This post is part of a series sharing simple feedback strategies.

Any other teachers amazed at how motivated students are by stickers? Stickers are classic - I remember getting stickers in piano lessons every time I learned a new song - but they can get messy and hard to manage.

Stamps are the cheaper and more sustainable form of stickers. I know many teachers who carry around rubber stamps and an ink pad. I started off with self-inking stamps myself, but as those got worn and lost, I bought these stamper markers as a cheap and versatile replacement.


Note: I teach high school, grades 9-12. Stamps are still appropriate! The strategies I’m sharing today are what I use in my high school classroom.
How I use stamps for in-class practiceOne way that I use them is for checking progress on in-class practice. On a practice worksheet, I stamp off every correct questi…

"Giving an A" - Shift Teacher and Student Attitudes in the Classroom

My favorite way to ease into back-to-school is revisiting my favorite education books. After considering my feedback system, I realized that the first time I ever heard of going gradeless was when I read The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander.



Back in high school, my band director made band leadership students read the book in preparation for a leadership retreat. The entire book exudes passion and positivity - check out my favorite TED talk ever by Benjamin Zander for proof - but in particular, I re-read one chapter of the book called "Giving an A."

Grades were initially created out of necessity in the 1800s when the only other accepted way to rank students was social standing. The grade itself cannot describe the student’s work or understanding like meaningful feedback can. Even as teaching practices move forward, grades are still used primarily as a way to measure and compare people.

In the Zanders' point of view, "giving an A" means seeing the…

Feedback System for HS Engineering / Entrepreneurship - Melanie Kong

This post is part of a series challenging teachers to consider their feedback system for the new school year. I wanted to share my own feedback system as an example if it helps you think about your own. I’ve taught a variety of STEM courses - Coordinated Science, Geometry, Algebra 1, Engineering - but I’m writing this particular feedback system for a new course I’m starting next year called STEM Startups. In this course, high school students will work in teams to create their own startups. Since it’s a new course, I have a whole lot of latitude in my systems and processes. So, with that context in mind, here is my feedback system!


Why do I value feedback in my classroom?
I believe that feedback is critical in any aspect of life. It’s how we learn from our mistakes and continue developing our strengths. In the classroom context, feedback is what allows me to meet and help every student where they are at. Feedback is also a crucial part of developing strong relationships; if I give consis…

School Leader Chat, Part 2: Feedback PD

I chatted with Martin Moran about shifting mindsets around grades and what this means for teacher PD. Martin is a Lead Designer and Director of the Upper School at the Bennett Day School in Chicago, IL and will be opening their new high school. Previously, he taught high school for over 10 years.

This is Part 2 of our conversation where we talk about how to train teachers in effective feedback. Part 1 is where we talked about grades.
As a school leader, how do you help teachers shift their mindsets around grades?With our new school, we’re coming up with a way to use narratives and portfolios instead of grades. There is an assumption with teachers on the summative nature of assessments. We are working to change mindsets around formative work and assessing for growth instead of just for evaluation.

As we write out our syllabus for PD, we are embedding conversations around mindsets. What I’m struggling with now is how do we live at a level between philosophy and day-to-day practice.

The ques…

School Leader Chat, Part 1: Grades

I chatted with Martin Moran about shifting mindsets around grades and what this means for teacher PD. Martin is a Lead Designer at the Bennett Day School in Chicago, IL and will be opening their new high school as the Director of the Upper School. Previously, he taught high school for over 10 years.

This is Part 1 of our conversation where we talk about grades. In Part 2, we will talk about how to train teachers in effective feedback.
How did you develop your philosophy around grades?My goal is to undermine the whole concept of grades. I saw the impact that grades had on kids. It was damaging to all kids, both the ones who were successful with grades and the ones who were not successful with grades. The kids who were successful were obsessed with and derived their self-worth from the numbers, and the kids who were not successful thought they weren’t smart, not because they weren’t intelligent, but because their intelligence wasn’t reflected this grade-based system.

Grades aren’t just dam…

Back-to-School: Consider Your Feedback System, Not Grading System

One question I ask other teachers is “How important is feedback in learning?” Every teacher I talk to agrees that feedback is crucial. It’s how both teacher and student gets better. Research backs the importance of feedback; building off of John Hattie’s work comparing factors on learning, Evidence for Learning’s toolkit ranks feedback as having the highest impact out of their 34 approaches (along with meta-cognition) with a +8 months’ impact on students’ learning progress.

I follow the feedback question with “How important are grades in learning?” It might seem like a loaded question. You can imagine how teachers respond: “They’re not.”

Why give grades, then? We’ll save that topic for another occasion. For now, I just want to point out that we are frequently asked to consider and describe our grading system by students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. We’re rarely asked about the much bigger and more important component of our work: feedback.


With back-to-school quickly approac…