Some days I feel like running out into the hallway and shouting “it’s going to be alright!” and running back to my locked classroom. I’m not sure what’s worse this year, the negative nancy teachers or the teenagers who have scented warm weather and are D.O.N.E. With the chaos and craziness comes the need for actual teaching and lessons (say what?!) – and with the wonky days of state testing and end of the year assemblies, these lessons need to be quick and powerful. I’ve already written about a few ways to survive the end of the year in this post but today’s post is going to focus specifically on #3 – revamping a lesson using student feedback.
In my class, this is a simple 3 step process: provide a choice in lessons to be revamped, provide structured guidelines, and provide a place for collaboration. This should not become a session where students get to complain about work or how much the lesson doesn’t interest them – this is a place for them to use parameters to provide constructive feedback.
Step 1: Provide a choice in lessons to be revamped by selecting the lessons BEFOREHAND. One simple way to do this is to select groups of 3-4 students and then provide them with 2-3 potential lesson plans to revamp. This gives students a voice (which they love) and you an extension if students zoom through the revamping process.
Step 2: Provide structured guidelines for students to use while revamping. If you stand in front of the room and ask students to “read and let me know what you think”, this will be a worthless assignment. Instead focus on teaching students the parts of a lesson plan (this is a must before the revamping process) and 3 questions that students can use for each part of your lessons.
- what additional tools or information do you need before you complete this part of the lesson?
- how much time do you need for this part of the lesson (explain how you would break down your time for this part of the lesson)?
- what else would you suggest to improve this lesson?
Some other tips for this step:
- provide highlighters, pens, markers, etc…for students to use as marking tools
- provide quiet time and a safe environment for students to provide honest feedback
- provide a timer to keep students on task but allow for adjustments as the time winds down
Step 3: Provide a place for collaboration by giving students time to discuss with their group. Give students individual time to mark up the lesson, answer your structured questions, and give individual feedback. Then provide a short period of time (use a timer!) for students to review and discuss their feedback and ideas. Encourage students to have a voice but don’t be afraid to write down another idea that they agree with (they should use another color to help differentiate between their own thoughts and their group thoughts).
Optional: Instead of multiple copies of the lesson, have groups create a new feedback copy for you to review that combines all of the ideas from the group discussion.
This is a great way to spend one of the last days of school with students AND it helps you to craft your teaching! If you have tried this before or have any other ideas for student feedback, let me know in the comments below!