Monday, September 19, 2016

The slice where I invite more voices

For today's slice, here's a conversation among four students. It unfolded as a string of comments added to a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet contained a list of English standards that we've been re-purposing in middle-school-friendly ways, as well as room for students to reflect on their progress in relation to those standards. During today's class, I wanted students' input on a draft of this sheet.

To serve us well, it should afford practice that enhances students' self-assessment and feedback capacities, not to mention their requisite reading/writing/speaking know-how. I envision this document inching us towards a more collaborative stance on grading. (I've changed student names because that felt like the right thing to do.)

Exchanges like this strike me as meaningful for pedagogy generally and direct instruction specifically. I'm still trying to put my finger on that meaning. Sure, Stu asks a crux question; Misty wants to belong; and Ann shows admirable initiative, but should cite sources better -- and may still not know what she's parroting! Among the bigger fish that seem worth frying is how, in the worthiest learning, application ought to trump recall.

What do you see looking through this slice-lens?


  1. I see trust. These students obviously feel free to reveal what they do and do not know to each other- not a given, particularly for middle schoolers. I see a spirit of collaboration and a better together mentality.

    1. Excellent observation, Ms. V. Thanks for reminding me not to take this for granted!

    2. I was going to comment on the same thing. It always strikes me as interesting seeing how students interact online, as they sometimes take on different roles than they do in face-to-face conversations. I learn a lot about my students when I see their responses!

      And, I have to say, I love the student names :-).