March 16, 2020

Feedback: Feedback Bootcamp

Over the years, I've tinkered with building up a kind of "feedback bootcamp" building up to giving each other feedback on their projects later in the semester. I've ended up with a system that dovetails really nicely: there are five weeks of feedback bootcamp, and that coincides with the five weeks that students are using to brainstorm and publish their website projects.

Below is a list of the week-by-week activities that my students complete. During Weeks 1-2-3, they are writing reflection posts at their blogs, and then in Weeks 4-5 they are leaving each other comments about each other's blogs, and then starting in Week 6 they are commenting on each other's projects, and that continues for the rest of the semester.

Click on each link for the assignment as our class wiki:

Week 1. Growth Mindset. One of the Orientation Week blog posts is about growth mindset. This concept is still new to most students, and I learn a great deal from the blog posts that they write here. It's a really good way to start to get to know them as learners.

Week 2. Feedback for Learning. This week focuses on receiving feedback, and how that can be a very difficult and emotional experience for people. The goal is to help people start to see mistakes as an opportunity to learn and improve, rather than getting upset or defensive about them. I provide a list of articles that they choose to read and respond to, and it's really helpful seeing which articles attract their attention and how they respond.

Week 3. How to Give Feedback. In my experience, most students are not confident at giving feedback but they are eager — really eager — to learn how to do that. It's something they see as important not just for school, but also at work and in all kinds of interpersonal situations. Again, there is a list of articles, and I learn a lot from seeing the articles they choose and what they take away from those articles.

Week 4. WWW Feedback Strategy. This is a feedback strategy I started recommending to students years ago, and it's one that seems to work really well. Later in the semester when students reflect about feedback strategies that work for them, they specifically mention continuing to use WWW. It stands for: Wow! (letting the author know where you really connected with the story); I Wonder... (speculating beyond the writing); What if...? (making suggestions by way of questions).

Week 5. TAG Feedback... and Let's Pretend! After I developed my WWW strategy, I discovered TAG Tell-Ask-Give which is basically the same as WWW (I felt so affirmed!). For some students, the TAG acronym works better, so that is the strategy they adopt. I also recommend a more unusual strategy that specifically relates to my students' writing: since they are writing stories, "Let's Pretend" is a feedback strategy where you write your comments in the voice of one of the characters in the story!