the ASK: I’m constantly struggling with ways to help students give more authentic feedback to each other, whether it’s formal or informal. So, I thought about universal sentence stems that could help jumpstart their conversations.

the TRY: I actually first tried these when I was working with a class of students who weren’t my own. A teacher needed a last-minute substitute and all I knew about the lesson was that kids were supposed to give feedback to each other on homework. So, I quickly wrote these sentence stems on this sheet of paper, took all the kids out to the hallway, lined them up across from each other (think two parallel lines here) and asked them to offer feedback on the homework using these sentence stems to push thinking. Then one line would rotate, so kids could hear from several of their peers.

the LEARN: I learned we all need a place to start and even if kids might know what they want to say, the fear of saying the wrong thing can lead to really anesthetized feedback like, “That was good.” The most important part of all of this was what I asked kids to think about when they came back into the room. For a few minutes they reflected on the feedback for working on revisions. I asked:

  • What did you learn about your work?
  • What do you need to keep or build upon?
  • What do you need to revise?


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