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Alycia

I live in New York

I teach 3rd grade

I am an almost-digital-native and Ms. Frizzle wannabe

Rhonda

I live in New Jersey

I teach 6th grade literacy

I am passionate about my students becoming lifelong readers and writers

Beth

I live in Michigan

I teach 3rd grade

I am an enthusiastic teacher and techie, and a mom of three boys

Erin

I live in Michigan

I teach 2nd grade

I am a Tweet loving, technology integrating, mom of two with a passion for classroom design!

John

I live in New York

I teach writing for grades 5-8

I am a sharpener of minds who keeps students' thinking on point

Kriscia

I live in California

I teach 2nd and 3rd grades

I am an eager educator, on the hunt to find the brilliance in all

Brian

I live in North Carolina

I teach kindergarten

I am a kindergarten teacher who takes creating a fun, engaging classroom seriously

Meghan

I live in Alabama

I teach 3rd grade

I am an obsessive personality with a creative flair

Lindsey

I live in Illinois

I teach 4th grade

I am a theme-weaving, bargain-hunting, creative public educator

Shari

I live in Idaho

I teach kindergarten

I am a wife, mom, and home chef who loves cooking up ways to make learning fun in school

Christy

I live in New York

I teach K-5 technology

I am a proud supporter of American public education and a tech integrationist

Amanda

I live in Illinois

I teach 1st and 2nd grades

I am a jewelry-making, pet-loving, runner, crafter, and bilingual teacher

Allie

I live in Nevada

I teach kindergerten

I am a loving, enthusiastic teacher whose goal is to make learning exciting for every child

Peer Critiques: A Lesson in Purposeful Feedback

By Kriscia Cabral on February 20, 2014
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Feedback is necessary in an effective learning environment. It creates a path for students to follow on their learning journey. Use a deeper learning strategy and video lesson to incorporate quality peer critiques in your classroom.

I was introduced to "Austin’s Butterfly" during a Deeper Learning MOOC. "Austin's Butterfly," produced by Expeditionary Learning, "demonstrates the transformational power of models, critique, and descriptive feedback to improve student work." I first watched it as part of an assignment. Afterward I reflected on the effect the video had on me. I brought it into my classroom to share with my class. The conversations, feedback, and understanding of the revision process transformed the way we looked at all of our work.

 

The Procedure:

  • Watch "Austin’s Butterfly" as a class

  • Have students share their reaction to the video

  • Discuss ways a good critique could benefit your learning

  • Try a critique with your class

We decided to put what the class learned about critique into action with a writing assignment on opinion pieces. After viewing the video, students began their first drafts. As they started, I reminded them that this part of the assignment was just that: a first draft. My exact words were, “Remember how many times Austin had to draw the butterfly?” This was a good reminder as it took Austin six tries to make his beautiful butterfly and a connection for them to keep in mind — that their writing was not nearly done yet.

Once first drafts were completed, we talked about Austin’s peers and how they critiqued his work. What did they say? How did they say it? What made their comments different from “That’s good,” or “I like your piece"? We talked about precise suggestions, being honest yet mindful of feelings, and how to offer ways to improve. This was our focus when we critiqued our peers.

For this part of the experience, I had students partner up. Before partners switched papers, I offered a mini-lesson on peer critiques. I shared a slideshow highlighting the purpose of the critique:

  • Positive comment first

  • Critique with a helpful suggestion

  • Grammatical advice

I emphasized the importance of the positive comment. I also gave suggestions about the grammatical advice, because my students will often focus more on the grammar than on the writing as a whole. I model with an example, we do one together, and then they’re off!

After starting with in-class partners and verbal critiques, we then expanded our sharing using Google docs. We partnered with another classroom at our school and practiced more. Want to extend your students’ voices even further? Share them on your classroom blog or website.

We posted the drafts to Kidblog and looked for feedback there. After reading the critiques, students went back to the drawing board to incorporate the advice and suggestions they received. Watching their opinion pieces transform, one critical — yet sincere — critique at a time was quite powerful!

Watching learning in action and modeling what they saw in the video has not only transformed our writing, it has transformed the way we communicate as a class. When students give advice and share with each other, they think of meaningful ways of saying things. They remember to be honest and precise. They remember to speak with purpose. The concept has reached all areas of our learning. Their ability to communicate their ideas and support each other’s learning is a skill they can utilize for a lifetime.

What are ways you encourage purposeful feedback in your classroom? I’d love to hear from you!

Comments (2)

Thank you! It's been so powerful in my classroom. Have you tried it in yours? I'd love to hear how it went.

Thank you for reading!

Kriscia

This is a great start.

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