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Student Feedback Smorgasboard

October 20, 2010

So, I’ve finally finished writing all my comments, which were made tremendously easier to write by the self assessment process I had the kids go through. I’ll write more about actually determining grades in a later post, but I wanted to share some of the incredible feedback I’ve gotten.

I often wonder if all the time we devote in class to metacognition has any real payoff. After all, the halls of my school are filled with people talking about grades, and fixed mindsets seem all around. So it was nice to see that what we’re doing is beginning to have some real effects.

Feedback like this is like gold. I should read this to myself again in February, when I will think I want to quit my job from misery.

I’ve had several highlights thus far in my physics class. I would have to say that the best one was the day of the first assessment we took. I am always the first or one of the first students to arrive in class and I could tell immediately that everyone was freaking out because it was the first assessment. I had studied enough to be really confident, but I felt that other students still had many doubts. I know how that feels like, because when I was in 7th grade math I spent an entire semester not understanding ANYTHING. That was the worst year for me. So Mr. Burk gave us the first period to study with our peers. Many of my class mates were having trouble with slope and it’s meaning and also the y intercept. I knew this subject like the palm of my hand because I have been through it for a couple of years. Instead of sitting down and waiting to take the test, I gathered with that group and it seemed that they were having trouble organizing themselves around the table, so we decided to use the Smart Board. My peers were not really taking the time seriously and they started to play with the Smart Board, so at we listened to Molly teach the subject. Even though she had the subject mastered, the other students still weren’t clear. I decided to step up. So I started teaching 😀 AND IT FELT AWESOME! I knew slope, it’s meaning, and y intercept so well that I was actually teaching my peers. It felt really really really great. Everyone in the little group seemed to understand and everyone participated. It SERIOUSLY made me feel SUPER! I think the reason why I enjoyed it so much was because I felt like I was really learning. Very few times have I stood up in front of my other class mates and explained a subject like that. Doing so made me feel like I really UNDERSTOOD it, no doubt about it. It also felt fantastic because I love when someone makes me think, like when a teacher makes you think beyond what you think you are capable of, and I was doing it. I was being the teacher. I loved it.

I want to improve on my mindset ultimately. This class has made me realize my fixed mindset and that I need to change it.

I think I have developed more of a growth mindset with respect to myself. I no longer label myself as smart or dumb, I just see myself as someone who can and will grow. I’m still working on the labeling other people part. My stress level has definitely gone way down even over the past week but it still needs some work particularly in the other courses. I’m just glad that I’ve learned to just go to bed when I need to instead of just staying up still all hours and I’ve been able to get some relaxing time in the past week too. I’m also still working on getting my enjoyment of physics back. I used to really love science in elementary school but kind of less during Junior High…anyway, it’s getting better.

Tons more feedback after the break.

I do think that throughout these moths I have developed more of a growth mindset. I am actually starting to enjoy my boring classes, and I am paying attention not only to my mistakes but to other student’s mistakes. I really am learning A LOT more that way. Since the beginning of the year I haven’t had one stress BOMB, like to the point where I cry. none. I am really happy, because I occasionally so much works gathers up that my brain cannot process the entire thing. It’ pretty funny even.. In my last school I could tell that my best friend did her homework just for doing it, but when we did it together and I didn’t understand, and I would ask someone else for help, she would always say “juuust doo it, it doesn’t matter if you understand it or not”. Now more than every, I can say that she is VERY INCORRECT. It really makes a difference if you understand it, because everything is so muuuuch simpler. If you understand a subject, you certainly won’t take as long as if you did not understand it. Also, you wouldn’t have to stress out the day before a test or a quiz, because you understand it. I now believe physics is really fun. It used to be another burden, because it seemed to be things that I already knew. Now, all I can say is that I am learning more than ever thanks to the growth mindset. I am also beginning to see how mistakes are so veery important when it comes to learning. When you make a mistake, it is correct FOR YOURSELF, but when you get it corrected, you are taking knowledge that you already had and you are now improving it. It’s not bad at all that you make 1000 mistakes. It’s only bad if you don’t put effort to correct them. I can’t cite a moment where I learned from a mistake I made, but I can certainly remember when it happened. We were in the past discussion and I said something about constant velocity doesn’t have any force at all. Right after I said that at least five other students told me that I didn’t make sense. It was pretty funny even. I didn’t take it as a bad thing. I was actually surprised at how the other kids were so concerned on the matter. Then when Mr. Burk finally ended up saying what made most sense did I understand that it is great that I make mistakes, and that my peers can correct them. It really is a great way of learning. My goals in this class have never been grade based, they have always been about understanding. I really think that that is the only way I am going to learn. I start focusing on the actual learning than on the later results. I really have no stress right now. These past months I haven’t suffered from any insanely stressful moments. I have learned to organize my time better, which in the end is EVERYTHING. I also had to sacrifice some of the things I loved doing like, I loved taking my dog out to the park every day and spending a lot of time listening to my new music. That I had to give up. However, I do it on the weekends… I feel great really. I don’t think I am on the stress tread mill.

And some is perplexing, like this…

I think that I have started to develop a growth mindset, but only in this class. I feel that I can’t apply a growth mindset to the rest of my classes because they are so different from this class. In this class, you can use homework as a way to learn and use tests as a way to learn, and in my other classes, I have not yet found another alternative way to succeed other than study for hours for tests and spend lots of time on homework. In this class, I do not get nervous for tests or start stressing out before them. As well, I feel that in almost every other class when a teach announces that we will be taking a pop quiz, everyone freaks out, but in this class I feel that I don’t start stressing out, and freaking out, but I get ready to take the mini assessment, and know that if I don’t do well, it can only help me understand better. I do enjoy physics, especially the class discussion and the labs with the group, interacting with my classmates. I like doing the practice problems, and the homework, as well as problem solving but sometimes physics can be very frustrating. I am not enjoying physics when I am expected to complete an assignment that was not taught to me. I think I have mentioned this before, but when we were learning how to graph the velocity of an object and make a motion map, each group got up and taught a topic. These groups had just been taught these concepts and they didn’t even understand them. They didn’t do a good job of teaching, and I didn’t understand what to do at all. I was extremely frustrated when I was expected to complete homework on something that I wasn’t taught properly. I am starting to see that mistakes are an important part of learning. Without mistakes, we wouldn’t be improving, and we wouldn’t be learning. I think that a great example of this is the mini assessments. I was able to see in just a small assessment what I understand and don’t understand so far in the unit. This was helpful, and gives us enough time to improve our understanding before the assessment. I feel that in this class I am forced to make understanding goals farther than grade goals because we don’t get grades. When I get an assessment back, I don’t get a grade, which is a bit frustrating because I have worked hard preparing for the test and studying, and working through the problems on the test, and all that awaits me when I get it back is more work with the corrections. In this class it would be pointless to make goals based on grades because we don’t get them, so I must make goals based on understanding. Again, I feel that this class is extremely different than my other classes, and since you are such a unique teacher with a different style, I feel that I can’t really apply the growth mindset, or the understanding goals to my other classes, because they aren’t the same as this class. But, in this class, I feel that my stress level is very low, but depending on the other classes, my stress levels vary. I feel that I am just working to get to the weekend, when I can spend unlimited time on homework, and I will be able to clear up any misunderstandings, and just prepare myself for the next week. I feel that I control my stress very well, and whether it is this class with low stress, or another class with high stress, I am able to find a way to relax, which for me means going on a run, and “de-stress” myself.

This made me a bit sad…

I still think I have some what of a fixed mindset.
Contrary to the belief of a growth mindset, I do not enjoy physics because I am not good at it.
I can, however, learn from my mistakes. I saw when I was frequently getting 1’s on motion maps, I came for help.
I want to learn to enjoy physics, even though it is not my strongest subject.
I have a high stress level, and I need to ease into new strategies.

I think since I’ve started this class My growth mindset has grown a lot. That doesn’t mean my fixed mindset is completely gone, but it’s gotten a lot smaller. For instance, I don’t stress out over tests in physics because I know they’re just to evacuate our understandings. If I don’t understand something at the time, there is always mire time to learn it. I’m enjoying physics a lot. I really like doing the blog and Ive been having a lot of fun with my microscope. I know that mistakes are a big part of learning too. On the first assessment, I sort of didn’t understand anything. After I did all of my corrections though, I figured out what I was doing wrong. If I hadn’t have done that, I would still have trouble graphing pendulums and most other things. In my weekly goal feedback I don’t really say I want all 3’s anymore. I want to explain things in class and I want to make meaningful commments in the group discussions. My stress level honestly isn’t that high in physics… Not so much in other classes but one is a start right? In physics my strategies are to ask lots of questions and to trysimilarproblens in order to study. I don’t try to memorize formulas because if I understand what each part means then I can figure it out on my own.

I really do think I’ve developed more of a growth mindset. I used to get really frustrated and just give up when I didn’t understand something. But now I try to really engage myself in what I’m doing and I find that doing that really reduces the amount of things I don’t “get.” When I do find something I don’t understand, I don’t freak out like I used to. I ask for help or I just wait until I can get feedback in class to since I know that I’ll be able to prove my understanding at a different time.
I think I am enjoying physics more than I probably would if we were using traditional scholar methods. My favorite moment in physics was definitely when we Skyped with the kids in New York. That was one of the most awesome classes I’ve ever had!
I feel like mistakes are more essential for learning now than before. Without mistakes you can’t really improve because you won’t know that you’re not doing something right or that you don’t understand the subject. For example, the velocity graphs. I made a lot of mistakes with them before I finally nailed one perfectly. Each time that I messed up and learned how to correct it, my understanding improved.
I have started to set goals for myself, but not really extensively. Sometimes I think things like, “Hey! Motion maps are kind of a hard thing for me. I’m gonna try to look into that these next few class periods and see if I can improve my understanding.”
Ehh. My stress level is sort of normal I guess. Doing corrections and engaging myself entirely is a lot more work but at the same time it lessens my stress because I know if I make a mistake I can go back and correct it without a problem.

I think that I definitely have developed a little growth mindset but I have a ways to go. I now don’t stress over grades as much, and I feel much better. Because of this class I now realize that mistakes really are not critical, just mistakes that can be corrected. While I still want a good grade, I think that understanding is more important. I think that in the past few years science has been stressful for me, but this year I actually like coming to science class. This is definitely a step in the right direction. My stress level is ok. I am not stressed in physics, but it is hard not to be stressed in my other classes.

I think I’ve developed more of a growth mindset because I realize that grades aren’t everything and that I can do much more in the world besides making good grades, and that learning is supposed to be fun not hard. Specific evidence of this change is when I wake up every morning full of eagerness to learn new material, as opposed to looking at school as a way to get it over with and make good grades, which is how my fixed mindset used to work. I find myself enjoying physics and not getting stressed out about learning difficult skills. Specific evidence would be where I normally would just forget about and choose not to read or look at any of the posts on it, but now that I am trying to enjoy learning physics, I’ve visited the site on a weekly basis. I’ve embraced the fact that mistakes are part of life, a specific instance being that I at first opposed the fact that a mosquitoe couldn’t exert the same force as an 18 wheeler on a highway, but after finding out that I was wrong, I was able to accept my mistake and learn that mistakes are part of life. My goal-setting has changed tremendously. In the past, I used to set goals based on grades and such, but now I focus on specific things that could actually help me achieve a greater performance in the class, such as going to extra help more often. My stress level at times has been pretty high, but I’ve learned that in order to overcome these stress levels, you need to find ways to have fun in what you do, and not only base everything you do off of school.

The joy of learning…

I really loved in one of the first weeks when we worked with the motion detectors. It was really fun using them and not knowing how they worked, and then figuring it out on our own. My whole group was really involved and working together to figure it out which made it great. At that moment I really loved science. It wasn’t something that I just had to do in class, it was truly interesting. It’s a great feeling of when your mind is working so hard, trying to figure something out and you finally get it.

I really think I am starting to develop a growth mindset. Little stuff I see that I had always just taken as normal, I start to see as a fixed mindset. For example I had always just excepted math homework being graded for rightness, even if you had just learned the concepts. But now it’s occurred to me, well that is really fixed mindset, we have just learned this stuff and your giving us the answers and telling us to mark it right or wrong. I was also watching a baseball game and I had never really payed attention to the fact that they show the number of errors up on the board. They will show that, but they won’t show the number of great plays that the athletes have also made. At certain moments I really do find myself enjoying physics. Especially when we are working in groups, just playing with all the science gadgets. Like I said in my first answer I really liked working with the motion detectors. I’ve also really liked learning how the time gates work. I think I have started to get better at embracing mistakes. For example my group was a little bit confused about what we were presenting and I explained something wrong. Normally I would have been really embarrassed that I had gotten something wrong like that in front of the whole class, but I realized that I understood it now so it didn’t make a difference. I think I have gotten better at setting understanding based goals through things like corrections. I also want to try to do more things on the blog to show my understanding. I feel like I have gotten a lot better at managing my stress as the school year has continued. The start of high school was really hard because I just had a lot thrown at me at once. But now that I have figured out how to effectively manage my time and not feel overly pressured about grades, I have gotten a lot better.

I have definitley developed more of a growth mindset, now that I’ve been exposed to the dangers of a fixed mindset. After reading the articles about fixed vs. growth mindset and getting all the talks about learning and understanding, i’ve been really trying to have a growth mindset and not worry about grades or how many I got right, but my understanding. I am really enjoying physics; its different and its interesting. I really like the freedom that you give us to experiment on whatever we want to, instead of middle school science where everybody does the same exact lab. I think thats why I’m enjoying physics so much. I think mistakes are really really important. I don’t like when teachers grade my homework and mark it in the gradebook, because that really hurts. I make so many mistakes on math and physics homework, but I do learn from them. I think that I learned the most from my mistakes on the worksheet about the tension force of the springs on the object. Also i learned really well from all my mistakes on the CVPM assessment, specfically the first two pages. Kind of, I’ve been thinking about how I want to understand physics forwards and backwards, but theres still the goal of getting an A in the back of my head. Lastly, my stress level just in physics is low. Overall, my stress level is high because of all the rest of my classes. I don’t really know how to get rid of stress that well.

Some amazing advice on homework…

I use the homework to practice and improve my skills. I like that it is not graded for accuracy, and because of that I look at it as a way to practice making FBD’s or graphs. I find myself looking at it more as practice too because of all the correcting we do on it. The correcting helps me because I can know what I understand and what I need to do more practice on.

I am learning to write out explaining in sentences sort of, but I still have trouble putting my thoughts into words sometimes. There are still those moments where I don’t understand and have to just write “See graph or FBD”. I have gotten better though, especially because of the test corrections, and feel that I can now express my answer in more ways than just writing a number.

Yes, I do that every time. You have even make notes of how you scanned my notes because all the corrections were so good.

When I can’t solve a problem, I try figuring out what the answer would or should be, and then going back and trying to solve it the way we are supposed to (I use a different method). I am getting better at handling the frustration. I used to just stress out, but now I am able to think everything through and try again.

I make notes on what I don’t understand, and then I go back and compare the corrections to what I did originally. I find that this helps me pinpoint the exact step where I went wrong, and this prevents future error. Even if I got the question right, if you solve it a different way, I write down corrections showing the new way because it gives me multiple options on how to solve the problem.

I try to do my homework in focused blocks of time. Lots of times I do my homework in extra help, and this helps me focus. I also just try to do my homework with as little distractions as possible because I find that this helps me make the least mistakes.

I think that I have developed more of a growth mindset than I had before (still definitely not perfect). One thing that demonstrates this is that I got a 2 on objective 1.8 a long time ago and I have decided not to correct it up until now (it’s the only objective I have left and I’m going to correct it in backwork next week) to prove to myself that the understanding, and not the objective scores, is what is important (I got the 2 for leaving off a unit). I feel like I enjoy physics a lot more – I actually enjoy coming to class now. As you know, I had some problems at the beginning of the year, but I am definitely enjoying it (I did my corrections early, I do all of my homework happily, I enjoyed the test) and it doesn’t seem like a burden anymore. Regarding the ability to learn from my mistakes, I talked about the first discussion and my mistakes in Question #1. I am not really sure how to set an understanding goal except by saying, “I want to master all objectives so thoroughly that I get all 4’s” and I know that is impossible, so I guess I have to say, “I hope to understand everything that we are supposed to learn this year.” Setting understanding goals still seems a bit strange to me. My stress level feels pretty good: I feel like I am doing enough that it matters, and I also feel like I have a lot of free time and time to sleep.

I think I have developed more of a growth mindset with respect to myself. I no longer label myself as smart or dumb, I just see myself as someone who can and will grow. I’m still working on the labeling other people part. My stress level has definitely gone way down even over the past week but it still needs some work particularly in the other courses. I’m just glad that I’ve learned to just go to bed when I need to instead of just staying up still all hours and I’ve been able to get some relaxing time in the past week too. I’m also still working on getting my enjoyment of physics back. I used to really love science in elementary school but kind of less during Junior High…anyway, it’s getting better.

I am not sure if I have developed more of a growth mindset, but I do know that I find myself thinking about it more often. In everyday situations, when I think a certain thing or hear a certain thing, I will automatically think to myself, “That’s a fixed mindset.” I am more aware of the difference between having a growth and fixed mindsets. I enjoy some elements of physics, but I would not say that it is my favorite subject. I do look forward to coming to class most days, however. I have just never been as excited about sciences as much as other subjects. (I must admit this year the difference is considerably less) I do think that I have embraced the idea that mistakes are important when learning. When I make a mistake in class, I can often see the correct answer easier. For example, when starting a new unit as we are right now, my initial ideas of what something means are soon corrected. I make goals for class, including some that I make separately from what I right down for our weekly feedback. I do not always write out or fully think out the details of a goal, but I think that I make them all of the time, even subconsciously. As far as stress goes, I am doing fine. Even if some people would be stressed in my situations, I do not let myself get to that point. If I have a lot to do, being stressed just makes it worse and takes up valuable time, and so I focus on getting things done one at a time instead of worrying about all of my work at once.

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