Using Wristbands For Funky Feedback

How can we use wristbands to support peer feedback?

There are lots of imaginative ways we can integrate formative assessment but it isn’t always easy. Sometimes it can be difficult, awkward and challenging to manage which is why I’m always open to new ideas.

Having just read Best of the Best: Feedback edited by Isabella Wallace and Leah Kirkman, one of the stand out chapters for me was by behaviour specialist Paul Dix and his ideas for using paper wristbands.

It’s an idea that you will also find Paul talking about in his new book When The Adults Change Everything Changes.

You might already be thinking this is messy and a non-starter but using paper bands or concert armlets is actually a clever, simple and supremely practical option well worth a try.

They are also cheap so won’t threaten beleaguered budgets.

Make A Splash

Paul got the idea of using wristbands in the classroom when taking his children to the swimming pool as they were used there.

His idea was that wristbands could be used to write on and record peer assessment conversations. This means that conversations don’t disappear down the plughole for ever but they are bagged, worn and possessed and children wear their targets.

Paul notes that the wristbands are very easy for children to use and record peer assessment conversations on. He says,

The bands can then be swapped, shared and returned. They are great for self-assessment ‘on the run’ and for holding key terminology and ideas. Each child can hold a record of their feedback and carry it with them to the next step of learning.

Far from being surplus to requirements at the end of the lesson, Paul suggests they are a marvellous way to stretch and fix learning. Rather than just a bog-standard plenary at the end of the day that stays in the classroom, children describe their learning again and again over the day to different people beyond the classroom. Children will be naturally curious about what their peers have on their wrists and what it says.

Children have to explain their learning to people who weren’t in the lesson, who don’t understand the context and who ask challenging questions. As the learning is rehashed, re-explained and reworked in different places, it is embedded, deeply.

Using wristbands for peer feedback is an innovative and novel idea to try in the new term ahead.

Pretty Handy

On his website and in Feedback, Paul suggests a number of creative ways his wristband idea can be used so why not have a think about trying some of the following:

* They are used as an exit ticket whereby children can’t leave the classroom at the end of a lesson without a wristband and declaring their targets to you.

* They are used as an entry ticket and use wristbands to record three big questions for the next lesson.

* Children use wristbands as aide memoires for the next part of a lesson by writing peer feedback on them.

* Children note down success criteria to remind themselves of their direction of travel while they are working

* Wristbands are ideal for PE, Drama and other active lessons and can be prepared with key terms and teaching points at the start of a lesson.

* Questions can be written on coloured wristbands and children can then search out others with the same colour band.

* They can record strengths and weaknesses so that children can find out others who may be able to help them.

* They can record key learning for sharing with parents at home.

* Use them for ‘holding’ behavioural targets.

* Perfect for self- assessment to help children reflect on their work.

* Can be used by children with additional needs to delicately communicate with teachers and

* They can serve as vital reminders, don’t forget messages and dealines.

* They can hold thoughts, ideas, key words and desired outcomes.

* They can be used to make connections and made into paper chains of connected ideas.

Teachers have used Paul’s paper wristband idea and made it their own. As a practical idea it’s something we can all use, apply and adapt.

How could you use them?

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