The 3rd grade team at Cottonwood Plains Elementary School, Connie Cook, Melody Fisher, and Rachelle Applewhite, have connected the feedback loop concept to resources available in Google Classroom to begin addressing the “how” of this best practice. Peer feedback, in addition to teachers’, is critical to student learning. Their first project was class discussions using Questions in Google Classroom. On a chilly day November they practiced and Rachelle prefaces the image below with: “These responses are from a Judy Moody reading and 3 R’s video about recycling and reducing waste. Students were to write their response and then go through and comment on three other submissions“.
Questions in Google Classroom are also a great way to accelerate class discussions. In Tapping the Power of Personalized Learning, 2016, author James Rickabaugh talks about employing the right levers for personalizing learning. This 3rd grade team of educators has a clear understanding of his fourth lever, Strategies: “Well-chosen instructional strategies can help teachers to engage students, nurture their learning, and improve their performance.” (p. 26) CPES 3rd graders’ engagement is sky-high using Questions, and teachers can chime in instantaneously without talking over students or quieting the room. Students revise their comments and learning is more than visible; it’s a journey that becomes every learner’s focus.
Teachers are also eager to help students feel safe in asking questions as part of learning. In January the team began using Assignments to have students turn in artifacts of learning, as well as for adding a “private comment” to teachers. Private comments in Assignments are what they say: a chance to ask the teacher a question, away from the eyes and ears of classmates. Notice the circled link below in a typical Assignment window:
In February, the team looked at using Google Forms for quizzes. They routinely teach new tools in a low-stakes way. Their first quiz was on “What’s Mrs. Cook’s Favorite?” (It’s Diet Coke, by the way) so students feel safe trying new things. Interested in getting started with Google Classroom in a few easy first steps? Click on the video below:
It’s exciting to be part of the learning journey with Thompson educators. With monthly EdTech visits the opportunities to try new things are far greater than in any one-time, one-size-fits-all class. Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore EdTech support options in your building.
Connie, Melody, and Rachelle began by rotating a Chromebook cart 30 strong. Now they’re experimenting with splitting the cart so each class has 10 at a time. They’re leveraging what’s currently available, and getting support along the way. It’s a privilege to join teachers, at any building, looking to try something new!
By Jeannie Sponheim