November Show & Tell

Today, I'll linking up with Stephanie from "Forever in 5th Grade" for her monthly Show and Tell about what's been happening in my room. It only seems like yesterday I was welcoming students back from Summer Break and now I"m thinking about January. AHHHH!!!

A big thing I have been working on this year is getting students to get and receive authentic feedback.  Launch comes from John Spencer and AJ Julian. I went to Summer PD and learned about Launch and liked the idea but really wondered how I would make it work in a 30-minute IEP based session. At the same time of this presentation by AJ, my district rolled out a Design Thinking Cohort. Here's the thing--this idea was a direction I was hearing I needed to move my instruction to score really well on my evaluations because of the student voice, choice, and feedback. Even as a special education teacher these three ideas are the cornerstone of my evaluation.

One thing I found was Design Sprints. Here they only have 30/45 minutes to build 2 prototypes and give each other feedback.  I make sure to have time to do a group debrief but we don't do the whole cycle. I would love to have more time to do the whole cycle but to really hit student voice, choice and feedback--not sure I really need to carve time to do the whole cycle with my students.

Design Sprints also break up the day to day work they do as well. The pumpkins were done a couple of days before Halloween Parties. They loved the change of pace.

The other place I build in student voice and choice is in their daily work. My 3rd graders are working paperless while they read a short chapter book. This is their targeted guided reading time. All their assignments and work is turned in using Seesaw. I create the reading response directions using different apps, so they can move to something other than Chatterpix or Explain Everything to complete their assessments.

They are getting more used to giving themselves feedback in this system and have begun to get it to others. The work they turn goes in the hallway and is shared to an authentic audience. This has changed the quality of work they produce and they know t make several tries (aka prototypes) to get it just how they want it. I have chunked it out by chapter and given deadlines for when things need to be turned in so they aren't just spinning and have to get things done.

The big thing: The assignments target the chapters they have read but all the questions are based on Bloom's. Mind you they hate this but they rise to the challenge and figure out the answer and how they want to turn in the assignment. I do delete work that is not of high quality. (This is a very long and second conversation. But this solves my students who want to rush through everything.)

Here I have let go of everything. I conference with them just about daily--somethings it just a "Hey, tell me what your working on" or "Can I help with anything." I am a guide or somedays strickly an observer as they get the work done. (This is a huge step into--well I have no clue as I've never done anything like this. The big key to keep on going is 1--they are so happy to come to group each day. It's not a drag which in 3rd grade is can be a big thing for them. 2--the monthly grade level progress monitoring scores are raising. And 3--their chapter fluency reads and comprehension products student turn in scream growth. Mind you not all on my caseload an in this place. So we will see when their winter benchmark scores look like. I'm not stressed if they don't finish the book they are reading. I would to change it up and let them have more choice in what they are reading come January.)

The biggest voice, choice, and feedback task we did was before Thanksgiving Break and had a bonus of authentic feedback as well. This was a STEM activity creating a method to transport a turkey without harming it. So what that it was my father but the kids LOVED it! Having someone who worked in engineering and not be me was the coolest thing ever. They want him to come back. We're talking about something for January. Something STEM and something engineering related.

Here again, we only had 45 minutes to do the activity. Students created 2 prototypes and got authentic feedback from someone who worked in the field was the best.

With each of these, I was able to target student voice, choice, and feedback in a short amount of time. It looks very different with the other students I work with but my 3rd graders asked for their IEP time to be something different and the asked for something outside the box. I'm not sure if I will get to do a whole LAUNCH cycle with them but to create something where they know their voice is heard, they are challenged to think outside of the box too, and get and give feedback is a back deal to a group of 3rd graders who thought none of this was possible.

I don't know what is around the next corner of them this year but they have the skills to ask the questions and work through the challenges.

Until Next Time,


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Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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