Sneak Peek Press

December 2015 Edition ~~Harrington News

Spotlight Events and Meetings

WED DEC 2 Team Leader Meeting

WED DEC 16 Staff Meeting-Focus: Body & Brain PLC

TH DEC 17 Class parties

FRI DEC 18 Early release for students, PM prep time for staff

Office Staff Celebrates Staff: Stop by the staff lounge for holiday treats on 12/9, 12/10, 12/15 & 12/16. We will alternate sweet and salty snacks as a THANK YOU from our team to your teams. We LOVE our staff.

Embedded articles included in this edition cover the topics of A 4 day School Week experiment for schools in Arizona, Feedback vs Advice, and the Yale University study of brain connectivity as a predictor for attention deficits.

Do you want feedback, advice, or an evaluation? See what the ASCD experts say.

Feedback vs. Advice

You need more examples in your report.

You might want to use a lighter baseball bat.

You should have included some Essential Questions in your unit plan.

These three statements are not feedback; they're advice. Such advice out of the blue seems at best tangential and at worst unhelpful and annoying. Unless it is preceded by descriptive feedback, the natural response of the performer is to wonder, "Why are you suggesting this?"

As coaches, teachers, and parents, we too often jump right to advice without first ensuring that the learner has sought, grasped, and tentatively accepted the feedback on which the advice is based. By doing so, we often unwittingly end up unnerving learners. Students become increasingly insecure about their own judgment and dependent on the advice of experts—and therefore in a panic about what to do when varied advice comes from different people or no advice is available at all.

If your ratio of advice to feedback is too high, try asking the learner, "Given the feedback, do you have some ideas about how to improve?" This approach will build greater autonomy and confidence over the long haul. Once they are no longer rank novices, performers can often self-advise if asked to.

Feedback vs. Evaluation and Grades

Good work!

This is a weak paper.

You got a C on your presentation.

I'm so pleased by your poster!

These comments make a value judgment. They rate, evaluate, praise, or criticize what was done. There is little or no feedback here—no actionable information about what occurred. As performers, we only know that someone else placed a high or low value on what we did.

How might we recast these comments to be useful feedback? Tip: Always add a mental colon after each statement of value. For example,

• "Good work: Your use of words was more precise in this paper than in the last one, and I saw the scenes clearly in my mind's eye."

• "This is a weak paper: Almost from the first sentence, I was confused as to your initial thesis and the evidence you provide for it. In the second paragraph you propose a different thesis, and in the third paragraph you don't offer evidence, just beliefs."

You'll soon find that you can drop the evaluative language; it serves no useful function.

The most ubiquitous form of evaluation, grading, is so much a part of the school landscape that we easily overlook its utter uselessness as actionable feedback. Grades are here to stay, no doubt—but that doesn't mean we should rely on them as a major source of feedback

New Crossing Guard

Our dedicated crossing guard, Elizabeth Strickland, is retiring at mid-semester.

Maria Garcia, a recent City of Plano hire, has accepted the opening of our crossing guard position. I will update you as soon as I know more about her start date. It should be right as we return in January. We are blessed to have crossing guards each day to help our walkers and bikers get home safely.