Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Peer Feedback- Students CRAVE it!

So today I was scheduled to roll out to two 5th grade classes. I had went through the checklist, verified everything with the teacher and was set to go. (Keep in mind, this was the first time I had worked with this teacher or her kids with technology this year.) Anyways, they had been reading this book called "Wonder"  in their ELA class. I am honestly not too sure what it is about but from what I have heard, it is really good and can connect with the students. Anyways, as the students were responding to the blog, I had noticed a few things: First, they were completely silent while working! I usually encourage casual conversation but they were really focused on writing a quality response. The other thing that I noticed is that they had finished much quicker than a previous class had. At first, I thought they might had been possibly bluffing their way through their response, but once I started reading them, most of them were of really good quality! As the students were finishing up, they kept asking, "What do I do now??" To myself I was like, "Uh... I don't know? The other classes never had a chance to finish!" However, I wanted to try something with this group. I told them that once they had submitted their work back to the teacher they were allowed to leave a constructive comment on another student's response. I quickly told them how a response should look, sound feel. It wasn't long before that, students were really taking the time to actually read other student's responses and leave comments on their posts! I think this drove the teacher a bit nuts because she had to keep mass-approving comments on top of her trying to leave teacher feedback on student work as well! She didn't mind at all though! There were honestly a couple of times where both myself and the other teacher had to hold back tears because of the fact that one of the characters of the book related to the student. This student was pretty detailed in how close of a relationship they had with a family member in which they lost not too long ago. They way the person passed away was very similar to the way a member in the book had died. When this person posted that, other students started encouraging her and saying really nice things to her! The classroom teacher and I were at a loss for words. Literally speechless! We kept telling each other that "This would never have happened if a student was to just write it in a standard ELA journal!"  We had other similar instances just like this today, but this one seemed really special to me. I think students crave peer to peer feedback. Besides the fact of students encouraging each other, they really voiced their opinions on whether or not they agreed or disagreed with the other students in a civilized way! It was a proud day for us all!

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