Feedback Codes

Nov 1, 2016 | by Janice Smith

Melanie Forte is hands down one of my favorite teachers to watch in action.  There are three reasons for this:

1) As is the case with many great teachers, it is incredible how many different techniques/moves we can capture in one class period.  She is an expert in doing a lot at once, in a way that appears to be instinctive.

2) She, and her fellow ELA teachers at Henderson Collegiate, are amazing at taking a subject that is less concrete and measurable (then say math and science) and making it concrete and measurable for her students. And,

3) I watched her just several years ago when she had first started teaching.  She has always been humble and hungry, and this is why she has grown into a great teacher in such a short amount of time.  Every time I watch her teach it reminds me that teaching is a skill, and can be learned, and NOT something we are born with.

This clip is one example of point #2, and her effective use of Feedback Codes to give students immediate feedback while working, allowing them to quickly learn from their mistakes and practice it correctly.  Specifically we love:

  • She has made it clear exactly what she’s looking for in an exemplar answer (in this case making powerful predictions), and has developed codes to help students identify which part they need to be working on. In ELA specifically, it can sometimes be hard to teach less concrete skills, and the first step is making it more concrete.
  • While students are working she is constantly circulating (meaningful circulation), where she is looking at student answers and provide immediate feedback and push.
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