It’s happening

Last Saturday, I went to the Project Learning Swap Meet organised by Bianca and Lee Hewes. It was inspiring, challenging and ultimately motivational in a ‘Make this happen’ sort of way. So then, while I thought my first blog post about PLSM would be about the day, I’m now blogging about how I came to making it real and happening on my first school-day back, in the middle of an existing project.

Circled are some of the ideas I thought I’d implement straight away.

notes on the back of the booklet Bianca shared

notes on the back of the booklet Bianca shared

I teach 8 Technology and on my rotation, students learn about Textiles and Digital Technology with a project involving the Design, Production and Evaluation of a pyjama set. It’s a common task for 4 classes taught by 3 teachers, including myself. The task has plenty of PBL elements including student voice and choice. Collaboration happens but more incidental than planned. Products are displayed along the hallway for all the school to see.

After attending PLSM, I felt inspired, challenged and motivated to implement some of what I learned on the day. Because I spent hours yesterday designing a Project Packet for year 7s (subject of another post), I decided to focus on something smaller for year 8s; something NEW that would be beneficial straight away.

Year 8s are submitting the Design products tomorrow which include sketches of their ideas and Final Design (the PJ set they’re actually going to make). I thought it would be good for them to get peer feedback prior to submission.

Techniques used (got all these from PLSM):

  • Gallery Walk – items for feedback are put on display and peers write feedback on post-it notes
  • Scaffolded Feedback – Based on @missjessm ‘s suggestion of “I like…Have you considered…”, the class decided to use +1 for “I like” and a star for the “Have you considered…”. Students suggested the ‘star’ and I’m still unsure why, maybe because it’s easy to draw?
  • Goals, Medals, Missions (I’ve used this before but the document here is new to me) – using the task assessment criteria, I listed the Goals. These were the basis of the +1 and star comments as well….i.e. things to consider when writing feedback



Students each had 3 post-it notes so they had to be more picky of what they wrote and who they wrote for. They could always add a +1 or star if they agreed on what has already been posted. It worked really well and every design got peer feedback. This went on for about 10-15 minutes.

Everyone then got their sketches and considered the peer feedback and filled in their Goals, Medals, Missions sheets.

Here’s what I observed:

  • Quality of peer feedback was excellent and the use of scaffold was evidently effective (eeek, that sounds so teacher-y)
  • Students appreciated the +1s and even more so, the stars – i.e. suggestions for improvements
  • Students were surprised at how true the peer comments were, making the +1 even more affirming
  • Students were more motivated and directed to create better quality products
  • Some students noticed things I haven’t (how good is this??? and yes, I’m collecting the post-it notes and GMMs)
  • I’ll know my students more based on their GMMs

It was soooooo worth getting this happening straight away. Read more about the above techniques and MORE in Bianca’s super post about managing the mushy middle.

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4 thoughts on “It’s happening

  1. Abi Woldhuis says:

    Love these ideas for feedback and reflection…read your blog post and Bianca’s…thank you both for sharing your nuggets of knowledge. It means we can all benefit from your experience.

  2. Heidi Hutchison says:


    I loved reading your reflection and plans from #plsm13! I will be conducting the #plsm13 Baltimore, thanks to the very generous Bianca and Jim for letting me borrow their idea for the States.
    Anyway, I am very interested in learning more about the GMMs and stars and stickies. Could you direct me to more info on that?
    Any information would be super and you can email me, no problem. Thanks and congrats on your great new ideas and inspiration!

    • malyn says:

      Thanks Heidi for your kind words.

      It shouldn’t surprise you that I first heard of GMMs via Bianca, i.e. her post on feedback.

      I have been using GMMs more as a reflection tool on given feedback which is an adaptation of the original idea, i.e. a way to provide feedback. Bianca’s feedback post attributes the idea to the original source, Geoff Petty. I suggest you read Bianca’s post (as I’ve done) and then dig some more in Geoff Petty’s site – linked to by Bianca.

      All the best for your PLSM13 event. I’d love to hear about it too.

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