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Showing posts from April, 2019

In Five Minutes, Teachers Can Begin to Build Students’ Feedback Literacy

“Ms. Matlick, I start to shake when I get on stage. I literally can almost throw up,” one student tells me. We have been knee-deep in a research process for three weeks now as my students prep for writing their own informative TED talks on topics of their choosing. At the end of the unit, they will each stand on a red-dotted stage and present their information in front of their peers. Many are excited, but several are naturally apprehensive, or worse. The public speaking element of the project certainly ups the stakes, and giving the kids many opportunities to test out the stage and their material in front of small groups will do a lot to build confidence. But as we head into the drafting and revision stage of the writing process, I’m reminded of a post by Floop co-founder Christine Witcher. She wrote about how feedback exchanges themselves in any context can be emotionally charged, too. She suggests that by not only preparing kids in the traditional sense for the task at hand, we sho

Growth Over Grades: How a Resubmit Policy Is Helping Us Build a Culture of Revision

This article originally appeared in EdSurge . "Are you going to resubmit your chemical changes model?" Valentina asked Jayda. "I'm not sure,” Jayda responded, “I'm already at proficient and I understand all the concepts, so mastery work wouldn't really be worth it for me."  Hearing a student say that work isn’t worth it would send most teachers into a downward spiral, but these words brought me joy. Jayda was confident that she understood the material, and hearing her make a choice  not  to pursue additional work for the purpose of chasing an extra few points on her grade made me proud. At Forest Ridge, an independent all-girls school serving students in grades 5-12 in Bellevue, Wash., we've been grappling with how to support students in focusing on growth over grades for years. In 2016, our school began putting intentional effort into getting our students to value the learning process and to focus on growth rather than grades.

How Improving Student Feedback and Teaching Data Science Restored Our Classroom Culture

This article original appeared in EdSurge . Over winter break in 2015, I found myself scouring the internet for career alternatives that would take me out of the classroom. I was in my fifth year of teaching at Forest Ridge, an independent all-girls school serving students in grades 5-12 in Bellevue, Wash., and I was feeling isolated in a room with students who didn’t seem to want to engage with my class, despite all my efforts to bring enthusiasm and passion to my work. The learning environment was tense, my students were angsty and I didn't have the information or strategies to make it better. I wanted to go back to my previous life as a geologist, where everything was quantifiable and the path forward was always revealed through methodical data analysis. Little did I know that by 2019 I would find a way to apply the data science strategies I learned as a geologist to bring joy and engagement back to my classroom. This Class is Unfair The pivotal class I was teaching at