Tuesday, March 28, 2017

TECH BASICS: HOW TO TRANSFORM DIGITAL COMMENTING IN THE CLASSROOM




Giving constructive criticism is hard work. You want to be able to pinpoint exactly what a student’s successes are as well as what they still need to work on.
At the same time, you don’t want to overload them with a bunch of information, whether it’s good or bad.
That’s why it’s super smart to streamline HOW you comment on student work. Not only that, but more work is being turned in digitally and the feedback you give is equally as important.
To help you out, I’m giving you some tips that I’ve used in my class to provide effective feedback in less time.


TIP #1:  STREAMLINE ASSIGNMENTS
One thing that might be stealing your time when giving effective feedback is THE WAY you are having students turn digital work in.
When I first started using technology in my classroom, I was so excited, but I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I would have students do awesome work and when it came time for them to turn it in, I didn’t really think that part through. I usually reverted to, “Just email it to me.” And my inbox was flooded with 22 beautiful assignments.
Sound like a similar experience?
So, to help save you time from the get go, streamline where you will receive the work.



My top three favorite online tools to use are Google Classroom, SeeSaw and Google Forms {where students submit their link on to the one form}.
All three tools are free and allow you to keep track of student work in one place. While I am not going to go into detail about each tool right now, they are worth setting up for your class and prevent less headache for you!

TIP #2:  SCHEDULE YOUR COMMENTS
Especially in elementary school, you often work on the same skill multiple times in a row. What I have found with students producing digitally, it takes them a lot longer than paper-pencil work.
That’s actually not a bad thing because it can stretch things out on my end when it comes to commenting.
Like you would with Guided Reading groups, create a schedule for the week as to who you will be giving feedback too.

The students who need the most support, make sure to comment on their work first and more often. The students who are producing at high levels, make sure to comment fairly early on so they know what their next steps may be.
This will take the pressure off of you so you don’t need to feel like you HAVE to get it done in one day.

TIP #3:  THE BALANCE OF 3
I like when things come in groups of 3 and I don’t know why! This little commenting trick is something that I started when I did writing conferences with my students years ago. It helped me be direct but effective with more students. This will really help your digital commenting too.



When giving feedback to students, I like to give them one comment for each of these three things:
-One thing you did well
-One thing you need to work on
-One question I have for you
I know that you want to comment on all the things, but that’s not realistic. Maybe you are commenting on JUST their comprehension. Maybe you are commenting on JUST their collaboration skills. Pick a theme or skill that your comments will relate to, then stick to one category for each.  

TIP #4:  GET CREATIVE
When using your balance of 3, it doesn’t necessarily HAVE to be typed.

**MIND BLOWN**

If you are a G.A.F.E. school, try using the free Chrome Web Browser Extension, ScreenCastify. You can record videos straight from your desktop computer! Then, insert the links on student’s Google work and they feel like they are getting a face-to-face conference with you!
Within SeeSaw, I love how there is a voice comment feature. As I view student’s work, I can quickly comment using my voice. It’s always good to switch it up and keep students on their toes!



You don’t always have to do personalized comments either. Make your rubrics digital and you can give students feedback that way by giving them the link and how you rated their piece.

TIP #5:  PERSONALIZED COPY & PASTE
Ever since I’ve had to do report cards, they’ve been digital and I’ve had to give personalized comments. As you know, this takes an absolute lifetime.
I knew I had to create an efficient system or I would be spending my precious weekends commenting on kids’ work.
I analyzed the comments I was giving over and over again and started making a digital bank that I could copy and paste from. The comments were what I would be saying anyway, so for each kid, I would just copy and paste the comments I needed.


Out of all the tips I’m giving you girl, this one is the most helpful. I would get your Google Doc ready with all the comments for each subject.

If you don’t know where to get started, that’s fine. I’ll let you use my tech comments {click here} and you can add to them whether it’s for daily assignments or quarterly report cards.



So, what are your special tips for digital commenting in YOUR classroom?



I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or in our Exclusive Facebook Group.  
Stay MARVELOUS!

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