Learn Like a Pirate: Improvement Focus vs. Grade Focus

I'm linking up with Amanda from The Primary Gal again for Chapter 4 of Learn Like a Pirate.
This chapter was all about providing feedback. I would like to think that I provide my kiddos with constant feedback, but after reading this chapter, there is more that I can work on.

There are a few questions at the end of the chapter that I’d like to reflect on. It was hard for me to relate to a lot of his experiences simply because I teach much younger students AND we don’t do a lot of group activities that they have full control over. As I’ve been reading this book, I’ve tried to understand how I could make these things happen or reflect life in kindergarten. This is one of the harder concepts for me.

1. How often do you give specific feedback to your students?
I give feedback often and not in great detail. I normally do not write on any of their work. This leaves it open for me to verbally provide them with praises and things that I think they need to work on. As I walk the room and check their progress during a whole group activity, I usually find groups to give feedback to at once or if I notice that one of my strugglers has done something really well, I give praise then. I did relate to the fact that Paul says he doesn’t try to correct them in the past tense. He states it in a way where it seems like they’re not being punished. I didn’t realize I did this until I read his words. I always say, “Well next time…” or something to that nature. One rule that we have is to try to never complain that something is hard. Kindergarten is where we PRACTICE. It’s okay if you cut your paper in the wrong place. We’re practicing. It’s okay if you have to erase and write that letter the correct way. We’re practicing. Feedback is a lot easier to give when they know it’s okay to make mistakes and that we’re all in this thing together.

2.     During which activities can you begin to offer regular feedback to your students?
Regular feedback can be given during reading small groups, math small groups, writing times… pretty much anytime throughout the day.

3.  How can you teach your students to be more focused on improvement and revision, rather than completion and grades?
This is one of those I cannot really relate, but I can things. I think this stems back to we’re practicing so you don’t have to be perfect and I don’t expect perfect. My kids know that I expect them to give there very best and that’s enough for me. We don’t always finish writing when they have writer’s workshop time. I have a folder made where they place their unfinished writing in the front. All of their completed writing is placed in the back. The next day during writer’s workshop, they check the front of their folders to get what they didn’t finish. I think this helps a lot and they learn to take their time. There isn’t a race and we’re not competing to see who can finish. My kids don’t realize or know anything about grades so I have it easy in that area.

4 and 5. I’m skipping these.

6. How can you encourage your students to keep improving their assignments, even after a unit has been completed?
 I am moving more towards revision. It’s quite a big task in kindergarten. We do simple things like checking to make sure we used more than 5 colors in our drawings. We go back and add more detail to our pictures. We add on to our writing if there is more that could have been said. It’s the very basic, but it’s a start. I think it helps them to be better thinkers, better writers, and overall better students in the long run.

7. How can you enlist the services of your students to provide meaningful constructive feedback?

Eeeek! I am not sure! I’ll be reading through the link up trying to get some ideas and to see if anyone mentions this. How is it that we can get kindergarten students to think on this level to their peers and to the teachers?

Yeah... this was a tough chapter for me. Sometimes I just cannot get in the mindset of doing things on a grander scale for five and six year olds.

1 comment

  1. Keri - Chapter 4 was a toughie for me. I was left with loads of questions! As far a peer feedback, I was left with the idea that just asking kindergarteners to give 1 piece of constructive feedback would be a place to start. I thought it would be best to start with a whole-group setting where I model a piece of feedback (drawing attention to a positive tone, giving a compliment first, and being specific). Then allow a couple of students to try but with their own suggestions for improvement. I think it's important to let them know that constructive feedback is another person's opinion and that you can take it or leave it, but know that it was offered to help, not hurt.
    The Take Home Teacher


Back to Top