Uncovering the secrets of effective feedback (well, trying to!)

After a stellar summer travelling China, I’ve come back down to Earth with a bit of a bump, and reality rears its ugly head once more. A new school year has begun and I, like many others in teaching, have been busy beavering away with a new year group and a new classroom! It is very much back to early starts, coffee by the bucket load and, of course, all the marking. There has been so much to do without unpacking and organising the room. I can’t believe how much stuff I’ve amassed already. 

Now I’m in Year 6 (gosh, don’t they write a lot!) I’m trying to make the process of marking and feedback as quick, easy and meaningful as possible. It’s so easy to let things slip when there’s so much to mark and I want this year to encourage my children to be critical and independent learners, especially as they prepare for secondary school. 

I’m building in plenty of opportunities in lessons for pupil self and peer assessment, using success criteria checklists or other types of prompts. I’ve also found marking alongside the child very effective for helping students understand what I’m looking for. Today I tried a game of Success Criteria Bingo which was very handy for seeing how many children already grasp the features that go with our current writing genre. We will use this form to mark against under the visualiser as a class tomorrow. As I am beginning to embed AfL strategies in the classroom, I am finding some new limits to my experience! 

One problem I tend to have is coming up with feed-forward tasks when I’m marking. I feel like the ones I come up with are so uninspiring! After hours of searching online, I’ve not been able to find any examples or ideas to steal either. If only they gave us a list when I was training! So this blog post is, in part, a request for help and advice, but also an opportunity for me to start my own bank of examples to make marking that little bit quicker! 

As and when I find/dream up new feedback tasks, I’ll tack them on to this list. They can then be put into a document for your downloading pleasure, once I have enough of them. In the meantime, watch this space…

NB: These are just examples! Feel free to change numbers, unit of measurements etc. 
Feedback tasks

Maths

  • Write your own word problem that requires…to answer it. (e.g long division)
  • How many m in 5km? 
  • Why is this calculation wrong?
  • Write a sentence explaining what you have learnt in this lesson. 
  • What would you do differently tomorrow?

Literacy

  • What other words can you use here instead of ‘angry’?
  • What will you do differently tomorrow?
  • Write a sentence explaining what you have learnt in this lesson. 
  • Write a summary of what will happen next in the story. 
  • Punctuate this sentence correctly. 
  • Use the connective ‘until’ in a sentence below.