Thursday, June 23, 2011

Two Stars and a Wish

Feel free to skip this long-winded explanation of why I'm attaching the file at the bottom... but if you want to peek in my brain for a second... read away!

I attended day one of a two day conference today on effective grading practices. It was very interesting and had several things that were "Aha!s" for me. One of them, which seems so obvious, is printing learning targets on assessments- both summative and formative assessments. I'm the first to admit that most of my formative assessments are observations or games... but actually printing on a summative assessment, in kid friendly terms, exactly what I am expecting them to be able to know and do... hello!

The presenter gave us a nice frame of reference for this. She called several teachers up to the front of the room and lined them up. She asked the first one to clap, which she did. Then she made her leave the room and some of the other teachers "rated" her clapping. Then she came back in and was not given any feedback about her clap. Then the second teacher was asked to clap, which she did... just a little better than the first because she knew that someone was going to critique her. So, like the first, she left and was rated but when she came back, she was told her score. This went on with each teacher clapping a little louder and more enthusiastically and receiving more and more feedback each time they came back in the room until, finally, the last teacher was given a set of criteria on which her clap would be judged. She was even given a little bit of say as to what the criteria would be! Well, her clap was outstanding!

It was a very concrete way to see the importance of really sharing with kids what our expectations are and then providing them specific feedback after an assessment. It really got me thinking about my assessment practices in my own classroom... and my mind spinning with new things to do this summer to get ready!

She also introduced us to the concept of "Two Stars and a Wish" which is something you would have students, potentially, use with one another to give a peer two compliments and one suggestion about a piece of work. This has some great implications for writing, in my opinion. In my classroom, dialog about author's craft is a common thing but I am the one who tends to lead the conversation. We talk about good things that writers do every time we read and write. Reading and writing are my two favorite things to teach and I also like to do both of those things, so I also feel very confident that my students are strong readers and writers. But when I am the one doing most of the talking... well, the "two stars" idea just got me thinking about how important it is to teach our students to give meaningful feedback to one another and what a cute and kid-friendly way to present it!

So, I made this sign that I plan to hang in my room with sentence starters on it. Enjoy!

Did I mention that not only am I a comprehension and data geek, but I get super jazzed about writing too? :)


  1. I posted something very similar to your this week too. I learned about through our Math Workstations Blog Link. I can't wait to try it.

  2. This sounds a lot like all the assessing workshops we've gotten too! You're not alone-how many times have I put a check mark or smiley on a paper!?

  3. Thank you, Thank you! I needed to make this sign and you have saved me the time - Thanks so much for sharing! It is ADORABLE and PERFECT!!!



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