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Fun Feedback When Things Aren’t Fun

Guest Post by Jessamy Tran

Distance learning has thrown me into the “evolving learner” arena like nothing before it.

When we began, I knew I needed to do something to keep those kiddos engaged. They needed to know I was happy with what they were doing. More than ever, they needed positive feedback poured on them.

On their first week of distance learning Google slides, I spent countless hours adding comments on every slide. Ctl+alt+m everywhere! It was like I was writing mini report cards every day. I’d include two or three compliments and a “tip,” not wanting to include any criticism for fear that they wouldn’t want to come back. The problem was, I didn’t know how the comments looked on their end. Where were they on the device? Could they access them? Were they even reading them? Did they like them, or were the comments pushing them away? I knew I was giving them good feedback, and feedback is fuel for the learner, but were they getting it? One morning, I watched my son, a second-grader, open his iPad and not even glance at the fantastic comments his teacher had spent who knows how much time writing all over his slides from the day before. That’s when I realized I needed to put that feedback somewhere more visible. I also knew students and parents BOTH needed a signal that the work was done. It was complete. Some go-ahead message that said, “Yes! Let your kid play now! They’ve finished their work!”

That was how, on March 31, one week into distance learning, my first “sticker” for work completion was made. I posted it to the SeeSaw accounts of students who had finished all their work, typed out a long comment on each account, and got some good feedback from parents.

At first, I just put the stickers on the accounts of the students who finished all their work for the day. I let the class know I was adding the stickers, hoping that more students would complete more of the work. Big mistake, looking back, even if they did one thing, they were doing what they could! Each student deserved a sticker. This was all new to all of us! Eventually, I modified what I was designing on the stickers so that anyone, who just did anything, would be excited to get one! I would give them encouraging feedback to try and do a bit more.

A lot of work.

We kept going for a couple more weeks, but typing ALL those specific feedback comments was pretty laborious. Thank goodness I work in an incredible district where others are ready to share what they know! I saw a post about giving verbal feedback in video form. That was a game-changer! Instead of typing, on that day’s sticker, I tried adding a recorded comment to one of the stickers, and it was just magic. I could include more information. I was able to compliment them AND give a teaching point for each subject area. I could make suggestions for things to go back and double-check, or ask if they needed help on something. It was the perfect platform for not only communicating with the student but the parent as well. It was as if I was giving parents the language they needed to go back and help their child. The parents were so appreciative. They were able to take the feedback and help their child.

The sticker part, that was just fun.

I make my clothes match what I’m wearing that day, use thematic Bitmojis based on what we’re doing, choose things THEY like, etc. Who doesn’t love playing with Bitmojis! That’s what keeps the interest alive. It’s the comment that I can help them feel proud of what they’ve done, that’s what keeps them coming back day after day to complete the work on their slides. I have put a face to their device. They know someone on the other end cares a whole lot about what they’re doing each day. They hear me say how much I miss them and how proud I am of them. It just happens to be on a cute sticker.

Here’s what I’ve learned about making stickers... there may be an easier way, this my way.

  1. Open Chrome and go to Google Drive to add a new Google Drawing.

  2. Make sure your Bitmoji is in the outfit you love!

  3. Copy and paste the Bitmoji of the day into your drawing.

  4. Resize. I wouldn’t fill the whole screen. It’s a little big.

  5. Add a text box or speech bubble.

  6. Name it something easy to find.

  7. File > Download > .jpeg

  8. Open the download and save it to a SeeSaw Sticker file.

  9. When the student has completed their work for the day, upload to SeeSaw with feedback on their work.

Side note - I have them post a morning message to SeeSaw each morning. That way, I know the first thing they see when they log into their account in the morning, is their Bitmoji sticker with feedback from the day before. However, most are waiting for it that day. If I don’t post it by late afternoon, they’re messaging me asking where it is. Who knew a little sticker could mean so much?

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