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As teachers our weekly plans include learning targets and very specific actions students engage in to achieve the target. We need to know how the students are doing as they practice. So, along the way we must collect information to get a “pulse check” of their learning. Feedback strategies used for the purpose of formatively assessing students help us check the learning pulses of our students. Act On It Now™ notes are one method of providing feedback.

Last Monday Ben Johnson’s blog at Edutopia focused on “the amazing sticky note” as a teaching tool. His examples focused on using sticky notes for formative assessment and student reflection:

To check for understanding, the teacher gave each student a sticky note and asked each of her science students to give concrete examples of the vocabulary that they had learned in class.

We give students “way-to-go!” recognitions on sticky notes.

Students… were able to confront their exact understanding of what they had learned and intuitively they understand the clear message that what they did in class today was important and they are expected to learn.

The blogger provides many additional examples for using “the amazing sticky note” in classrooms. Check out all the examples here.

Act On It Now™ notes are sticky notes that teachers place on student work to specifically focus students on how well they did and what they need to do to improve. The notes are descriptive yet focused on one or two very specific improvement areas. Below are two examples.

Teachers Use to Reduce Learning Gaps. To determine how students have reduced their learning gaps, teachers could ask students to turn in their old work with the Act On It Now™ note and the revised work attached. As teachers, this allows us to quickly see a cohesive package of the old work, our note to the student with original feedback, and the new work with improvements. Consequently, we directly focus on the specific corrective action the student completed. Our assessment of their work becomes clear and focused.

Students Use as an Instructional Tool. Students may use Act On It Now™ notes as an instructional tool where they become reflective learners as we ask them to complete a note about their own work. If coached well by teachers, students could complete a note to help their peers. All this is to say, using Act On It Now™ notes serve as a tool to communicate student assessment information focused on one or two needed areas of improvement.



For more information about Act On It Now™ notes and other feedback and assessment strategies see Pilcher, J. K. 2010. Who’s Engaged? Climb the Learning Ladder to See. Available here from Amazon.

Johnson, Ben. (September 10, 2012). Tools for Teaching: The Amazing Sticky Note. Edutopia blog available online.

iLessonReady™ is a lesson development solution for teachers to use to engage students in learning while aligning lessons to the Common Core Standards. It guides teachers to create learning targets, learning tasks and feedback strategies (formative assessments) that help students achieve one learning target at a time until students achieve a learning goal aligned to the Common Core Standards. The app’s structure/development aligns to long standing, research-based practices identifying the most effective variables that influence student achievement and engagement (Black & Wiliam, 2012, 1998; Brookhart, 2012, 2008; Hattie, 2012, 2008; Pilcher, 2012, 2010; Stiggins, 2012; 2007). For more information about the iLessonReady™ app visit http://www.iLessonReady.com or visit the iTunes store.

TeacherReady® is state approved and is the Educator Preparation Institute of the NCATE accredited Professional Education Unit at the University of West Florida. In addition to placements in over 400 public schools, TeacherReady teachers have been placed in 149 different international, private, and charter schools. The TeacherReady curriculum is grounded in the Student Engagement Framework. To learn more about TeacherReady teachers or to read about some of their experiences visit them at http://www.TeacherReady.org or on Facebook.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we teach teachers and leaders how to get the best student learning results and create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com to learn more about Studer Education Teacher Development Institutes (TDIs), Leader Development Institutes (LDIs), and Evidence-Based Leadership. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, the recipient of a 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.