We try and end every school year by asking our students for their feedback and reflections. Students love this as it is their turn to evaluate us for a change! We love modeling how asking for and receiving feedback is part of learning and growing, as well as demonstrating our commitment to lifelong reflection and learning. Also, I’m always surprised by what students remember, appreciated, and enjoyed. Sometimes, the things they complain about during the school year are the things they say they enjoyed the most at the end.
Some patterns we’ve noticed over the years are that students tend to especially appreciate amazing read alouds, the well stocked and curated classroom library (and personalized book recommendations from their teachers), experiences (for example field trips or guest speakers), games (and fun!), and their teachers (especially encouragement and support).
Here are the questions we asked and some of our students’ responses (in order for the evaluation to feel more exciting and grown up, we had our 3rd graders fill out a Google form. This way, they could choose to be anonymous - new vocabulary word! - or not. We worked up to having students independently use a Google form all year, so having handwritten feedback might be a more realistic/comfortable option earlier in the year). Student responses are in italics:
What is one of your highlights (something you enjoyed) in 3rd grade?
- I enjoyed playing games because I felt like we were all one family.
- woking on essays because it's a project and I like projects especially ones that take a long time and essays take long that's why I like essays. I also like social studies because we did things that involve interacting with each other
- The teachers
What was something that didn't feel good (or was a challenging moment) for you?
- Getting pushed and pushed and pushed (keep going -- I finished.. now keep going moooore! keep going!). I just wanted to be done sometimes! This was sort of a good thing too.
- Learning to type was challenging and frustrating because I was lagging behind. But eventually I got the hang of it. (-:
- Learning to be okay if you make a mistake
Is there anything you are still thinking about (from what we learned this year)?
- What my learning was like ( how much I learned).
- No, well not that I know of.
- What I learned is that you should never judge somebody by their skin color because that is wrong!
- How many essays we could write, how many more topics we could write with essays and how many more chances could we have had if we only did that in writing. I would like to make essays the whole year! no one wanted to do essays when you first said it, but then everyone wanted to do essays once we did it once or twice.
What could your teachers have done better to support and/or challenge you?
- Not a lot. Really nothing because I expanded my learning this year a lot.
- To support me, you could have worn very awesome shirts! (This is hilarious. Clearly, I need to go shopping for awesome shirts before the school year starts!)
- giving me more books.
What did your teachers do well (to support and/or challenge you)?
- They were always helping me and making me a better writer through their advice.
- well, they pushed us more to work harder and have more fun while we work not just ' oh work, blech!' it was fun learning too, not just learning school blech! It was fun, because our teachers are fun! yay.
- Gave us a lot of game time!!!!
If you could change something about 3rd grade, what would it be? Why?
- It would be using our computers more often because, using computers helps us type faster and better (more stamina). (They were only allowed to use computers during Technology class once a week and for “publishing” their writing).
- Something that I would change about 3rd grade is the amount that we have in writing and Social Studies because those are my two favorite subjects in Homeroom.
- I would change 3rd grade to allow a 3rd grade pet I would change it because I think it would be the little 3rd grade HERO and we would have a good laugh with it
- Maybe they could buy more books. (This is amazing because we went way over our budget because we bought so many books! But of course we can always buy more - there are so many wonderful books out there).
Any other thoughts or things you think we should know:
- 3rd grade was the BEST ever like if I could go on vacation I would go to 3rd grade
- I love your games. They make the world less depressed.
- NOPE (most students said no or just didn’t answer this question).
- That I love reading a lot and I have a big imagination.
While we loved hearing from our students, we reflected that asking 3rd graders about the entire school year on one survey might have been too much at once. This upcoming school year, I hope to find a way to get student feedback throughout the year. Some ideas I am considering are reflections after big projects or at the end of units or maybe something more open-ended. I will keep brainstorming and will hopefully have some more feedback to share this fall!