Tag Archives: Thomas Benefield

Reader’s Response: Learning to use learning progressions (reflections from 5th grade learners)

What if we design a lesson to orchestrate productive discussion, critique the reasoning of others, grow as readers and writers, and deepen understanding through reflection? How might we engineer effective discussions, tasks, and activities that elicit evidence of learning as we learn to provide feedback that moves learning forward.  Will this help activate students as learning resources for one another?

The 5th grade team invited me to co-labor with them to help our young learners deepen their understanding of reader’s response journals.  Using their readers response learning progressions, our 5th graders offered me feedback to help me grow as a reader-writer and to practice critiquing the reasoning of others.

Knowing how important it is to close the lesson with purpose, we asked our young learners to reflect using the following prompts.

Here are a few samples from their reflections.

  • I learned to pay attention to making sure I explain the book.  I learned to ask myself if I added quotes and page numbers.  An “ah ha” for me was when I learned about the importance of adding page numbers and quotes.
  • I learned to pay attention to the page numbers and the definitions of words. I learned to ask myself where are the mistakes in this and how can I make it better? An “ah ha” for me is to look up definitions of words I don’t understand.
  • I learned to pay attention to focusing a lot on text evidence. I learned to ask myself if I really did my best and met the level 3 requirements. An “ah ha” for me is to be able to link my writing and the book together.
  • I learned to pay attention to specific details and listening closely. I learned to ask myself questions about the text. An “ah ha” for me is critique versus criticism and constructive criticism.
  • I learned to pay attention to feedback I receive, because it will make my writing better.  I learned to ask myself about text evidence, making thinking visible, and formatting.  An “ah ha” for me is including text information in my writing at all times.

How will classroom culture grow as we strive to focus on the five key strategies we studied in Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for F-12 Classrooms by Dylan Wiliam and Siobhan Leahy?

  • Clarify, share, and understand learning intentions and success criteria
  • Engineer effective discussions, tasks, and activities that elicit evidence of learning
  • Provide feedback that moves learning forward
  • Activate students as learning resources for one another
  • Activate students as owners of their own learning

Wiliam, Dylan; Leahy, Siobhan. Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for F-12 Classrooms. (Kindle Locations 493-494). Learning Sciences International. Kindle Edition.

Reader’s Response: Learning to use learning progressions (my reflection)

What if we design a lesson to orchestrate productive discussion, critique the reasoning of others, grow as readers and writers, and deepen understanding through reflection?

The 5th grade team invited me to co-labor with them to help our young learners deepen their understanding of reader’s response journals. As a team, they are focused on implementing and deepening their understanding of these five strategies from Wilam and Leahy:

  • Clarify, share, and understand learning intentions and success criteria
  • Engineer effective discussions, tasks, and activities that elicit evidence of learning
  • Provide feedback that moves learning forward
  • Activate students as learning resources for one another
  • Activate students as owners of their own learning

Can we engineer learning experiences that orchestrate effective discussion and elicit evidence of learning? Can we empower our young learners to serve as learning resources for one another and deepen their own learning?

The plan called for crisp, quick moments to think, write, and talk. Using the learning intentions below, our young learners read a reader’s response entry from me and offered me critique.

First, they read my entry silently and analyzed it using the given success criteria.  Next, with a partner, they discussed what they read, what they thought, and if they agreed on their ratings? Then, we began to develop critique using the starters shown below.

After thinking and writing silently, partners shared their sentences. Then, they chose one sentence each to share aloud in the group. I heard important, informative feedback for every voice in the room.  Here are a few samples from their feedback.

  • I like how you included the definitions from the dictionary; I did not know what cur was. I wonder if it would be easier to understand if you told us what was going on and went in chronological order. What if you add a few more details to explain your thinking?
  • I like how you were descriptive, because it helped me understand a bit more. I wonder if you thought we had all read the book.  What if you include the title next time?
  • I like how you added the page numbers in our writing, because you really told us how/what page number it was so if we found the book and wanted to read a part, then we could just find the page really easily. I wonder what the title of the book is because it sounded interesting.  What if the title of the book was on the page, because it would really give us a quick summary of what the book was.
  • I like that you included a sketch, because it helped me think about the names Bud was called.  I wonder what Rule 118 is. What if you explain the connection to the text and your thinking?

Engineer effective discussions, tasks, and activities that elicit evidence of learning as we learn to provide feedback that moves learning forward.  Will this help activate students as learning resources for one another?


Wiliam, Dylan; Leahy, Siobhan. Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for F-12 Classrooms. (Kindle Locations 493-494). Learning Sciences International. Kindle Edition.

Reader’s Response: Learning to use learning progressions (the plan)

How might we take action to deepen learning and empower students? What if we focus on the five key strategies we studied in Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for F-12 Classrooms by Dylan Wiliam and Siobhan Leahy?The 5th grade team invited me to co-labor with them to help our young learners deepen their understanding of reader’s response journals. As a team, they are focused on implementing and deepening their understanding of these five strategies:

  • Clarify, share, and understand learning intentions and success criteria
  • Engineer effective discussions, tasks, and activities that elicit evidence of learning
  • Provide feedback that moves learning forward
  • Activate students as learning resources for one another
  • Activate students as owners of their own learning

On Thursday, they facilitated a lesson on making thinking visible and introduced the following to our young learners.

On Friday, I facilitated a lesson on using the above to improve and strengthen reader’s response journal entries.

What if we design a lesson to orchestrate productive discussion, critique the reasoning of others, grow as readers and writers, and deepen understanding through reflection?

Slide deck:


Wiliam, Dylan; Leahy, Siobhan. Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for F-12 Classrooms. (Kindle Locations 493-494). Learning Sciences International. Kindle Edition.

estimate and reason while dancing, singing, and playing

How might we promote peer-to-peer discourse that is on task and purposeful? What if challenge our students to estimate and reason while dancing, singing, and playing?

Andrew Stadel, this week’s #MtHolyokeMath #MTBoS Effective Practices for Advancing the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics facilitator, asked us to use visuals to engage our learners.  In his session, we used Day 127 How long is “Can’t Buy Me Love”?, Day 129 How long is “We will rock you”?, and Day 130 How long is “I feel good”? from Estimation180.

Here are my visual notes from class:

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Our homework was to estimate  How long is “I feel good”? and to try visuals with students.

I asked Thomas Benefield, 5th Grade teacher and FSLT co-chair for 10 minutes of class to try Day 127 How long is “Can’t Buy Me Love”? with 5th grade students.

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How might we make sense and persevere when making estimates? What is our strategy and can we explain our reasoning to others?

Students were asked for a reasonable low estimate, a reasonable high estimate, and then an estimate for how long the song is based on the visual. My favorite 5th grade response:

Well, you asked for a low estimate and a high estimate, so I rounded down to the nearest 5 seconds and doubled it for my low estimate. I rounded up to the nearest 10 seconds and doubled it for my high estimate.  For my estimate-estimate, I doubled the time I see and added a second since it looks like almost half.

#Awesome

It was so much fun that they let me stay for How long is “We will rock you”?, and How long is “I feel good”?, and they asked for Bohemian Rhapsody. Wow!

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Andrew said that you know you have them when they start making requests.screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-7-43-06-pm

As you can see, it was a big hit. They were dancing in their seats. This quick snapshot of joy says it is worth it for our students.

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What if challenge our students to estimate and reason while dancing, singing, and playing? What joy can we add to our learning experiences?