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Sharing assessment & grading strategies that help students learn

An important part of Assessment For Learning is helping students know "what they know" and "what they don't." For younger students (K-1), this is certainly a challenge. What follows is a nugget worth sharing from The Daily Five by Joan Moser and Gail Boushey...
As teachers are modeling a particular procedure or strategy, or after students have practiced a technique, teachers ask the students to gauge their understanding or performance in the following way: "Hold your fist close to your heart to show that what you're about to tell me is the truth that you know in your heart. Now, put your thumb up if you know you're understanding/doing your best work. Or just hold your fist tight to your chest to show me that you know you could improve or that you need more help from me to improve."
This works well because the kids don't feel that everyone is looking at their response (since their fist is close to their body), but the teacher can gauge rather quickly how students feel that they are progressing.

Such a simple tool for metacognition... but great practice for getting younger children involved in the assessment of their own learning!
For the love of literacy,

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Comment by Kristen Franklin on December 2, 2009 at 3:14pm
What a cute idea! I sometimes do the thumbs up or straight or down, but I like how having their fist close to their bodies helps them to feel like their responses are more "protected" or private.
Comment by Pamela Coffey on November 19, 2009 at 2:20pm
I love this! Thanks for sharing it and explaining why it works. My first graders can do this and begin to monitor their understanding as well as report it to me in a genuine way! I'll be interested to see if they spontaneously make the gesture even when I am not directly asking them to show it. : )
Comment by Scott Habeeb on November 18, 2009 at 5:01pm
Thanks for sharing this strategy, Melanie. I think (know) that it works well at many grade levels.

BTW - metacognition is my favorite big word!

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