Posted by: darcymullin | May 25, 2012

Descriptive Feedback is really SMART

It has been a while since I’ve posted.  I’m going to blame it on what Cale Birk calls AprilMayJune.  This is one that has been sitting on the back burner for a few weeks, but I just have not had the energy to get it out there.

In our school the SMART learning process is heavily used.  Almost everyone on our staff uses elements of SMART learning and a number act as demonstration teachers who modelt for others learning the process.  I am not a SMART teacher (it kinda hurts to say that – I’m pretty smart :-)), but I do understand the framework.   One of the best things (in my opinion) about a SMART Sequence is how descriptive feedback is built into the process.  As regular readers know, I am a huge advocate for Assessment for Learning practices and to see it unfold so naturally with an experienced SMART teacher is amazing to watch.

A couple of weeks ago our kindergarten classes were in the midst of a grade wide sequence and they invited me to come and watch.  Ipad in hand, I went to document what I saw.

Two kindergarten students working. I love how the criteria is right in front of them, they are talking about it and how it is age appropriate.

What is so powerful is that even at 5  years old kids are empowered by knowing the targets.  I love the way Anita (@aberekoff) keeps bringing the learning goals to the fore throughout the video.  I also love how the kids have the criteria for success accessible to them.  Often I will see kids checking or writing on, or checking off the criteria they have covered – such powerful self assessment.  To listen to these students offer each other feedback and self assess their own work is powerful indeed.  If these skills become hard wired in Kindergarten imagine the powerful learners they will be as they move through the system.

My dad always told me that I should be working SMARTer, not harder…maybe I should have paid more attention.


  1. Wow! I am so glad you were able to apply your assessment understandings to the work of SmartLearning. Over and over people are touched by the depth of thinking and the accelerations in understanding. Thank you for taking the time to blog your observations, insights, connections. Such fortunate learners to be with you and the teachers in your school. fond regards, Susan Close

    p.s. I am in London now, writing to finish our SmartLearning tool-kit in time for presentation during our summer conference in Vancouver. We look forward to many of your teachers joining us for the “Full Sails Ahead: charing a course for great learning” conference scheduled for Aug. 20 & 21. You can find details on our website: Thanks again for the thoughtful reflections on the work of SmartLearning. sc

    • Thanks for comments Susan – I appreciate the feedback. My understanding of the SMART process is somewhat limited, but I sure am in a great place to learn!

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