The final presentation at our lunchtime pedagogy picnic on Magic Monday 4 was by our Curriculum Team Leader for Performing Arts, Laura Jackson. Here, Laura explains how she has been developing some of the Fast Feedback ideas I shared at our first Magic Monday, as well as some new ones she’s discovered since. Over to Laura……….
Colour coding is used widely in schools – even our student planners have red, amber and green pages for them to show understanding or communicate messages to staff. It is an excellent way to give visual indications and clear action points immediately.
What is RAG?
RAG just stands for Red, Amber and Green.
How can it help me?
There are many ways you can incorporate RAG into your daily schedule to save you time, without compromising on quality.
I have used colour coding in several different ways in all of my lessons to try to see which ideas work best and how.
My BTEC Music students have been using colours to show how far through the task they are and also their level of understanding of each task:
- Red was still unsure
- Amber was a good understanding
- Green was confident enough to explain the concept to someone else
The benefits have been:
- Easy and clear to understand
- Student and teacher friendly
- Minimal cost
Dots, boxes and stars
I developed the use of dots from Dan’s “Fast Feedback” blog post from the first Magic Monday. I have been developing student led critique in my classrooms and I thought this may save me even taking the books home to formally mark.
The majority of my “marking” is listening work: Performances and composition work are critiqued as part of the development process and performed when complete. Dots can be used as indicators for students when they are doing a task, without talking or interrupting the flow or their concentration. By giving the work a quick visual check I can quickly judge a student’s understanding and give feedback. It also allows me to correct misconceptions or obvious errors before a task is completed, giving my students a chance to improve instantly.
I have used larger box shapes for my BTEC/ KS4 classes so they can write inside the boxes. It has been successful with units where facts and roles need to be learnt, allowing students to write about areas of strength and security, as well as weaknesses or areas to be developed.
I have also used gold stars to highlight examples of excellence – work to display and show others to aid the critique process by getting students to discuss what great work looks like.
I discovered Kev Lister’s #rag123 on Twitter and instantly saw how I could develop my current system into a more formal marking process. I contacted him and he sent me his marking guide, which I adapted slightly to fit my own needs. Kev writes “R2/ G2” but as I already had the dot stickers I thought I could pre-populate them and just stick them on the work.
The process is simple:
- Decide on criteria – classroom/ subject/ department
- Perform a quick visual check
- Grade using RAG123 criteria
- Students then respond/ critique / improve
I also liked the fact that students had the opportunity to rate themselves which provided quick self assessment opportunities which didn’t have to be formalised.
- Marking smarter doesn’t result in a lower quality response
I found that the level of response from students was better than the feedback tickets I had been using previously. It also put the work back in the hands of the student as when I used the code, they had to think about why they had been given that code. More often than not they actually knew, especially if we did class critique. If they didn’t know then it gave them the opportunity to peer critique their partner or neighbour’s book and again, it meant that it was giving the students the power to manage their own learning. It also meant I could then spend time working with students who were “code red” and may need extra support in that particular task.
- Marking smarter means I have more time to develop other ideas
It is a fast system – you can do a quick visual check and correct spellings if necessary – very quickly without compromising on the quality of the marking.
- Marking smarter can improve student motivation and quality of work
After 2/3 weeks, students were much more motivated in tasks to complete work with higher quality answers first time as they did not want red on their books. This is something I hadn’t anticipated at all and meant a rise in the quality of all work.
- Marking smarter can improve the quality of peer and self assessment
The students were brutally honest in peer and self evaluations and I found this refreshing as they were not just rating themselves “green 1” just because it was good.
It is definitely something I will be continuing to develop in my lessons and with my groups, and hopefully implement throughout the whole department.