Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Standards-based Bulletin Board Focus Walk

We've struggled for years at CCE with how to best provide feedback to teachers on their Standards-based Bulletin Boards. We know that teachers put great energy into analyzing student work and selecting pieces for the board, and then constructing the elements of the board. And, we value the boards because they make student work so visible. We also know the new learning that can be had by a teacher, a parent, and even a student from the reading boards. Therefore, it is critical for individuals to read the boards and for teachers to get feedback on their boards. In the past, we've done that in a variety of ways:
  • School coaches have read and given general feedback to the grade level

  • Grade levels have focus walked during Teacher Meetings and given either oral or written feedback to one another
  • Partners have focus walked and given written feedback to one another
  • Some grade levels have even done virtual board walks through PowerPoint pictures and copying of student work in Teacher Meetings

This feedback, in general, has been horizontal (across one grade level), and by and large has focused on positive elements of the board. Rarely, in front of the team, has a teacher gotten constructive feedback on the areas in which they need to grow to make their work deeper.

So, in an attempt to deepen this dialogue and create constructive feedback, we decided to hold a SBBB walk with the entire faculty, during an Early Release Day. Each faculty member was assigned a team consisting of about seven teachers, and were designated to walk three boards. Each member of the team was given a feedback form to fill in as they walked and had collegial conversation. The teams turned in their written feedback at the end of their walk, and I typed into two different categories, Glows and Grows, for the teacher's whose boards were visited. I typed an email to teachers with this message...

Dear Teachers,

As you know, feedback was collected from each
teacher at our Early Release Board Walk. The feedback has been compiled as
it was written on an individual’s feedback form and represents an individual’s
opinion. The feedback is categorized in two ways, glows and grows.
Any positive feedback was listed as a glow and next steps were written as
grows. Groups were highly encouraged to include grows, so if some of the
bullets seem nit-picky, they probably are. I could have edited the comments, but
selected to stay true to this process, so you are receiving everyone’s comments
back as they were written. When reflecting on the feedback, my hope is
that you celebrate your glows and embrace the grows that you agree could be your
next steps. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your
feedback, please feel free to come and see me.

Below is an example of feedback that one teacher received:

Teacher ABC
Engaging visually! Certainly captures your attention.
Catchy title that relates directly to the work.
Board is aligned--standards, task, and commentary.
Authentic to work students are producing in classroom.
Detailed commentaries that were in an easy to read table.
Very creative design.
I like how students had their own rubric.
Clearly labeled elements.
Good integration of content.
Student work is terrific.
Mini-lesson topics are evident in the student work.

A student and peer conference reflection would be fantastic!
Consider using a left to right lay-out to make the board more reader friendly.
Perhaps, you could add student commentary to the next board.

All in all, the collegial dialogue and constructive feedback was much deeper. I even received email replies back from individual teachers who thought this was the most productive board walk they had done and that it was the most pertainent feedback they had ever received on their board. They felt that walking with teams from various grade levels and content areas allowed the conversation to go deeper than it had in past years. This is definatley a process I hope to try again. And, I can't wait to read the next set of boards that are being put up today.


Mrs.Mallon & Mrs. Dillard said...

I've always said that the teacher's bulletin board is a window to her classroom. It is the time to be proud and show off what your students are doing. They love to see their work on the board. The SBBB walk is a great way for teachers to take time and really read their grade levels boards. More times than not, a great idea for a new board can be inspired by talking with peers. MM

dayle timmons said...

I agree. This is certainly a piece of professional development that generated lots of conversation and reflection! It will be interesting to see if it actually raises the level and depth of bulletin boards in the building which, after all, is the point of professional development.

debrennersmith said...

As an outsider, it would be nice if you posted a bigger picture instead of a reduced for the web picture so I could see the bulletin board closer. I am very interested and curious. This sounds exciting and wonderful. The picture peaks my interest, but I want to ZOOM in.

Suzanne said...

Good point, debrennersmith. This board came down on Friday or else I would go back and do that now. However, I will keep this in mind for next time. Thanks for the suggestion.

debrennersmith said...

THANKS, I appreciate it! ALL the Chet's Creek blogs are very informative and helpful. I appreciate all you and your teachers do! THANK YOU! deb

Debby Cothern said...

I agree that this was a great way to spend some time with teachers from other grade levels. It really helps to hear the comments and suggestions from others. I can't wait to visit the new boards that went up on Friday.