As a teacher, I sometimes feel like I am a slow implementer. When I am exposed to a new idea, I need to spend a lot of time reflecting on it, analyzing it, often seeing it in action before I’m ready to implement it in my own class. The more extensive it is (or the better/more detailed I want to do it), the longer it’s likely to take me.
A few years ago, I was doing an ALL-ED course at MfA with Rhonda Bondie. She introduced me to the notion of giving students “specific quality criteria” or as I’ve begun to call it, “success criteria.” I wasn’t sure what that would look like in my own classroom yet, so I have been reflecting on how to do it. Then, last week, I met with Marvin Gruszka, and he showed me how he implements these quality criteria into everything he does with the students – and suddenly something clicked into place for me. I realized that all of the written work I have my students do in math class could “easily” be graded with his rubric (a “4 point mastery scale” that was also correlated to a “points” scale for grading).
And then Marvin had different Must Haves and Amazing criteria, depending on the task itself. Here’s one example:
This was for a written response students did in answer to the focus question of the day.
Yesterday, I used Connecting Representations with my sixth graders and I gave them some “success criteria” for the metacognitive reflections they wrote at the end of class.
Specific details from class
Cite a specific person by name.
Quote something someone else said.
Then, today, I had a double period with one of my classes, so I asked them for the success criteria! And they were way more detailed and came up with MUCH better criteria than I did!
I thought this was so awesome, I not only decided to share it with you here, but I think I’m going to actually use this criteria on their reflections from now on! Especially on their HW reflections (called My Understandings)!
Once we brainstormed these criteria, I had them write their reflections to the three prompts for the connecting representations we had just done. I asked my students to try to make it amazing, and gave them about five minutes of writing time (which is longer than a typical reflection, but we had a double, and I wanted them to focus on upping the quality of their reflections now, before we keep using this routine, because I’ve been disappointed by some of their previous reflections). Then they read their reflections to their elbow partners.
Then I decided to have them give each other feedback on their writing, so I had them swap notebooks with their mirror partners. I had them UNDERLINE examples of the student using the “must have” criteria in their response and STAR *examples* of the student using the “AMAZAING” criteria. Then they wrote each other feedback, using another routine I recently developed called “Positives and Deltas” They wrote two sentences: a + positive that the student should keep doing and a ∆ (delta, which means change): something you would recommend they change in the future.
I think it went really well, and I’m super excited to read their reflections the next time I collect them. I didn’t have an opportunity to read them today because the students wrote their reflections in their notebooks!