Ever had an idea you just had to act on?
Today with my year 10s, we had 15 minutes to ‘spare’ after we de-briefed their yearly exam paper. Just then, I had a thought to get them to write their own report comment. I figured ‘why not?’
So, I asked my students to spend the next 15 minutes drafting a 500-character report comment for IST. I mentioned that I have already drafted their reports – which was true – and that I wanted to make sure I did not miss anything – which was also true – and that I would use their input – which was more or less true.
One of the more astute ones asked, “Does that mean we write our own reports?”
I replied yes, of course. I write the words but in fact, what they do (or not) throughout the year is what is written in the report comment. So technically, students do write their own reports. Right?
Awesome as they are, they humoured me and actually did the activity.
It was an authentic context to reflect on the year that was, how they were as learners in my classroom and even how they could improve. No scaffold. No prompts. No advice from me….just the time and space to do it…and a bit of ‘rah rah’.
I was so pleased by their honesty and accuracy of self-assessment. I was also pleased that my report comments got validated by theirs which, for my part, means I do know my students and that my data collection (via formative and summative assessments) and feedback systems work.
Writing reports can be onerous, often due to sheer volume and tight deadlines. This has been a ray of sunshine.
I would do this again as a win-win activity. That is, students reflect meaningfully on their learning – content and process and I, their teacher, gets validation and more importantly, personalised insights about them.