Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey

November 1, 2017
by leesensei
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Pop Check-In…Pop Coaching: Improving My Formative Feedback

Please note: This is a cross post with my blog for Path To Proficiency…

“They know it for the quiz and then 15 minutes later they can’t use it properly.” How could they score so well on a scheduled quiz and then not use it correctly in a spontaneous classroom interaction? How could I make a more accurate appraisal of where they really are in acquiring a concept? How could I offer formative assessment on what they truly understand/know?

And so this year I began the “Pop Check-In”. When I first announced one in my Year 3 class there were looks of horror. “A pop quiz? You hadn’t warned us! A quiz? For marks?” So I explained what the ‘pop check in’ is and isn’t:

  • It is a chance to see what you have in your head ‘right now’
  • It is not ‘for marks’ but it is ‘for learning’
  • It’s a chance for me to see if I have further teaching to do regarding this concept

Typically I “mark” the check-in that evening by putting a coloured dot next to response that needs another look  and the next day ask my students to look at/correct the problem. They receive a ‘complete’ mark when this correcting is done. Those students requiring extra attention then get it that second day.

This works well but one day I returned them the same class and noticed the effect of this more timely response. I realized that I should be opting for immediate feedback and immediate coaching, especially for those students who have still not mastered the concept. In other words if I could pop-check then I should pop-coach. So now I find myself 5 minutes during the class – 5 minutes to quickly look over the check-in and return them that very class. For some it’s a quick look and often “I know where I went wrong!”. But for the others it’s a great time to revisit the concept. When students are working quietly I take a moment to individually help those who need the extra support.

Students tell me that they like this approach. That it really shows them what they know and some are surprised that they didn’t really understand the concept as well as they thought they did.  They also say that it is a way to check in on their learning without a fear of it reflecting on their mark (their concern as always).  For others it gives the confidence to know that they are expressing themselves appropriately and correctly. And I’m finding the quick coaching moments to be more effective because they occur right away.

The other day I announced a pop check-in and one of students turned to his partner and said “I told you we’d have one! She’s checking to see if we’ve got it!”  And that’s formative feedback I’m happy to provide!

C

 

October 12, 2015
by leesensei
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“Pop Check-In” The New Formative “Quiz” in Class

file8541339345592I have come to believe that the following statement is true for most of our students, “You know, I always know it for the quiz and then 45 minutes later I don’t remember what the concept was when I need to use it.” As a teacher this has always been a challenging area. How could they score so well on a quiz – and then not use it correctly in classroom interaction? How could I make a more accurate appraisal of where they are in acquiring a concept, and what they may or may not need to master it? How could I offer formative assessment on what they ‘really’ understand/know?

And so this year I began the “Pop Check-In”. When I first announced a “pop quiz” in my Year 3 class there were looks of horror. “A quiz? You hadn’t warned us! A quiz? For marks?” So I explained what the ‘pop check in’ is:

– It’s a chance to see what you have in your head ‘right now’ regarding this concept

– It is not ‘for marks’ but it is ‘for learning’ so I will ask that you provide ‘corrections’ for what you have not mastered

– It’s a chance for me to see if I have to do some further instruction/teaching around  a point

I “mark” the check-in by circling areas that are not showing mastery. It lets me see where areas of weakness exist in individuals (one on one reinforcement) and the class as a whole (re-teaching a concept perhaps). Students then hand in their ‘updated (corrected)’ quiz for a completion mark.

Students like the approach. They tell me it really shows them what they know and don’t and some are surprised that they didn’t really understand the concept they ‘thought’ they knew.  It is a way then to assess their own learning without a fear of it reflecting on their mark (which they are always focused on despite my efforts). If I choose to do a ‘for marks’ quiz it will come after this formative feedback.

The second and third time that I did this in class the students were happy to participate. They understand the ‘why’ behind the idea. I appreciate the opportunity for more formative assessment/feedback for them.

Pop Check-In Quiz – it’s a positive thing, and one I’ll continue to employ in class.

Colleen

 

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