Yes, We CANN Give Effective Feedback!

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Jocelyn Dunnack, Columbia, CT,

Feedback is arguably the most critical and powerful aspect of teaching and learning.

-Hattie and Clarke, Visible Learning Feedback

Teachers quickly learn the value of effective feedback and the number of things that can go wrong in delivering effective feedback. We strike a balance between offering the most appropriate observations about students’ work in the moment and the students’ willingness to act on our feedback. How do we phrase our feedback? What is the right tone for this student? Can the student act on this feedback now? Will they find our feedback useful or valuable? Will this feedback disrupt deficit messages that live in our society, schools, and students? If we miss too many of these variables, our feedback does not have the power to change learning as Hattie and Clark have observe

The Professional Learning Team has been learning more about asset-based feedback as a way to manage the emotions, anxieties, and pressures some students feel about receiving feedback. Asset-based feedback is explicit but affirming. It lives on the leading edge of learning, between what is known and almost known. It shows students what they are doing well and the way to move forward in their learning.

We would like to offer this acronym to help all of us deliver more effective feedback:

C- Check in with something personal or academic. Begin the interaction by showing care for students.

A- Assign Competence. Publicly name an intellectual strength. What is something the student (or team) is doing well? Name that skill, habit, mindset, or way of thinking. We often do not know what we do well. Be specific!

N- Notice the point to move forward on.

N- Nugget. Give a little something to help the student move forward. Perhaps a hint, an advancing question, something to learn more about.

You can learn more about asset-based feedback and see it in action in Building on Equity and our new series, Building on Discourse. There is also a handy bookmark to carry while circulating to help you use every interaction to show students that they CANN be powerful doers of mathematics. We hope you will try this protocol and see positive changes in students, your classroom community, and maybe even yourself.

This PDF of the bookmark is in a public conference resources drive. It could be linked in the article, or an image could be used: C.A.N.N. Bookmark (Asset-Based Feedback) (PDF).

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Algebra Tiles Session

  • Used throughout CPM middle and high school courses
  • Concrete, geometric representation of algebraic concepts.
  • Two-hour virtual session,
  •  Learn how students build their conceptual understanding of simplifying algebraic expressions
  • Solving equations using these tools.  
  • Determining perimeter,
  • Combining like terms,
  • Comparing expressions,
  • Solving equations
  • Use an area model to multiply polynomials,
  • Factor quadratics and other polynomials, and
  • Complete the square.
  • Support the transition from a concrete (manipulative) representation to an abstract model of mathematics..

Foundations for Implementation

This professional learning is designed for teachers as they begin their implementation of CPM. This series contains multiple components and is grounded in multiple active experiences delivered over the first year. This learning experience will encourage teachers to adjust their instructional practices, expand their content knowledge, and challenge their beliefs about teaching and learning. Teachers and leaders will gain first-hand experience with CPM with emphasis on what they will be teaching. Throughout this series educators will experience the mathematics, consider instructional practices, and learn about the classroom environment necessary for a successful implementation of CPM curriculum resources.

Page 2 of the Professional Learning Progression (PDF) describes all of the components of this learning event and the additional support available. Teachers new to a course, but have previously attended Foundations for Implementation, can choose to engage in the course Content Modules in the Professional Learning Portal rather than attending the entire series of learning events again.

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Building on Instructional Practice Series

The Building on Instructional Practice Series consists of three different events – Building on Discourse, Building on Assessment, Building on Equity – that are designed for teachers with a minimum of one year of experience teaching with CPM instructional materials and who have completed the Foundations for Implementation Series.

Building on Equity

In Building on Equity, participants will learn how to include equitable practices in their classroom and support traditionally underserved students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Essential questions include: How do I shift dependent learners into independent learners? How does my own math identity and cultural background impact my classroom? The focus of day one is equitable classroom culture. Participants will reflect on how their math identity and mindsets impact student learning. They will begin working on a plan for Chapter 1 that creates an equitable classroom culture. The focus of day two and three is implementing equitable tasks. Participants will develop their use of the 5 Practices for Orchestrating Meaningful Mathematical Discussions and curate strategies for supporting all students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Participants will use an equity lens to reflect on and revise their Chapter 1 lesson plans.

Building on Assessment

In Building on Assessment, participants will apply assessment research and develop methods to provide feedback to students and inform equitable assessment decisions. On day one, participants will align assessment practices with learning progressions and the principle of mastery over time as well as write assessment items. During day two, participants will develop rubrics, explore alternate types of assessment, and plan for implementation that supports student ownership. On the third day, participants will develop strategies to monitor progress and provide evidence of proficiency with identified mathematics content and practices. Participants will develop assessment action plans that will encourage continued collaboration within their learning community.

Building on Discourse

In Building on Discourse, participants will improve their ability to facilitate meaningful mathematical discourse. This learning experience will encourage participants to adjust their instructional practices in the areas of sharing math authority, developing independent learners, and the creation of equitable classroom environments. Participants will plan for student learning by using teaching practices such as posing purposeful questioning, supporting productive struggle, and facilitating meaningful mathematical discourse. In doing so, participants learn to support students collaboratively engaged with rich tasks with all elements of the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices incorporated through intentional and reflective planning.