August 29, 2020

Examples of Specific Feedback for Students

General comments such as "Great Job" are nice words that may make students feel good, but specific feedback can help students advance their learning. Imagine that you are just learning to drive. After driving all over town, the instructor or your parent says, "That was pretty good, but there are some things you still need to work on," and walks away. It may be kind of important to know what exactly was good and what needs work! Students need the guidance of teachers to provide information about what is going well, and what next steps to take to move along. This guidance can be provided in the form of specific feedback. Feedback can be provided informally while walking around the room as students work or more formally with a student and teacher conference. Either way, your students will likely benefit from specific feedback. 



Like other effective instructional practices, providing specific feedback may take a bit of practice. You may want to try focusing on one subject area to start. Then you can add other subject areas as specific feedback becomes a habit. Here are examples of specific feedback in 5 subject areas to get you started:


1. Writing

You remembered to indent each paragraph. The next step is to use transition phrases such as "The following day..." when you begin a new paragraph. 


2. Math

You chose the right operation to begin that story problem and solved it correctly. It's a 2 part story problem so let's keep reading to decide what to do next.


3. Science

Your graph is an accurate display of your results. What conclusions can you draw based on this data?


4. Social Studies

You were able to use North, East, South, and West correctly when answering questions about the map. Now you are ready to work with the intermediate directions.


5. Reading

You were able to answer all the factual questions from the passage correctly. Rereading may help you answer those trickier open-ended questions so that your answers are supported by text evidence.


When you provide specific feedback, you are recognizing small steps toward a goal. Notice the reaction from the student when you give specific feedback. Confidence grows when students know exactly what to do next. 


Have you tried giving specific feedback? Feel free to share what has worked for you in the comments below! 


I've been reading a lot about the importance of habits. You too? Read about making math a habit HERE!

August 12, 2020

5 Whole Group Games That Work With Kids At Their Seats

Kids staying at their seats may not be the ideal situation. Nevertheless, adapting temporarily can give students the opportunity to play whole group games. Of course, make sure that you are able to follow all health and safety guidelines before playing these games. 


1. Bingo

Bingo can be played to reinforce many topics from vocabulary words to math facts. Consider using printed disposable bingo boards. Students can have their own set of chips that can be stored in individual Ziploc type bags or inexpensive plastic containers. Here is a FREE blank printable bingo board that students can fill in with vocabulary words that you write on the board.


2. Twenty Objects

Display 20 pictures on the board for 1 minute. For younger students, you can start with fewer objects. The pictures can be content-related. For example, if you are studying electricity, you could have 20 pictures of items that run on electricity. To play during a math lesson, you could display 20 math-related items. After 1 minute, close the display. Students then try to write down as many items as they can remember. 


3. Unpacking Grandmother's Trunk

Students pretend to be up in Grandmother's attic unpacking an imaginary trunk. One by one, students name imaginary items that are found in the trunk. Each student must list the previous students' items before adding their own. Some like to play this game using the alphabet. A game could go like this:

Student 1: I unpacked my Grandmother's trunk and found an accordion.

Student 2: I unpacked my Grandmother's trunk and found an accordion and a bike.

Student 3: I unpacked Grandmother's trunk and found an accordion, a bike, and a cake.

Let the kids be silly and see how far they can go. If you have fewer than 26 students, they can have more than one turn. If you have more than 26 students, you can have recorders who write down what is said. Another starter for playing this game is "I am packing a suitcase for vacation and I am packing..."


4. Categories

This game is played like Scattegories. Make a list of 5 to 10 categories such as animals, plants, games, names, places, books, food, etc. Choose a random letter. Students then try to write one example from each category that begins with the selected letter. For the letter "D" a student could write:

Animal - dog

Plant - dandelion

Game - dominoes

Name - Dustin

Place - Dave and Busters

Book - The Doorbell Rang

Food - donut

Categories can be related to curriculum content once the students know how to play. For example, the solar system, rocks and minerals, music, art and design, and colonial times, could be categories. Make the categories more specific for advanced play. 


5. I Have Who Has Games

I Have Who Has is a fun game for students to play while practicing various skills. The game starts with a set of cards that are NOT numbered. All of the cards in the set are distributed even if students need to get more than one card. One student will have a card that says "I have the first card. Who has..." If students are practicing math vocabulary, the first card may read "I have the first card. Who has 2 lines on the same plane that are equal distance apart and never meet?" The student who goes next would have the card that says "I have parallel lines. Who has a part of a line that stops at given endpoints?" The game continues with students listening for clues to the card that comes next. The game ends when a student has the card that reads, "I have the last card." Students like to repeat these games while being timed to see if they can beat their previous time. During times when students cannot share materials, these games can be printed on paper and disposed of after each use. Once students can share materials, the game cards can be printed and laminated for repeated use. 


Here are a few inexpensive suggestions to get started with I Have Who Has Games:

Multiplication Game 2's and 3's

Multiplication Game 3's and 4's

Multiplication Game 4's and 5's

Multiplication Game 5's and 6's


Dreaming of getting back to the future with all the things? Here are some not-so-socially-distanced games to keep in mind for later on:

Whole Group Games


What are your favorite classroom games? Feel free to leave a comment below!


With faith and friendship,