Fostering Self-Assessment and Revising Post – Its*

In order for students to self-assess their own work, they have to have clear learning targets and be able to see the difference between their current work and the end goal.  This is not easy work for teachers or students because the expectations are ever increasing under CCSS.

These first years of implementation of the Common Core may be transition years.  If students have not had explicit instruction in understanding character development (R. CCR. Anchor 3), they may need varying levels of support.  That instruction is going to be critical for fall 2013,  in order to ensure success for students in their daily reading as well as future high-stakes assessments.

The last post included the chart below as an anchor chart that was a resource for a loop of :

  •  instruction,
  • conferencing,
  • assessment, and
  • planning for additional instruction for the students.

(If you haven’t read that one, you might want to go back to “Readers’ NotebooksAssessing, Goal-Setting, and Planning Instruction“.)


Joey, fictitious student, left his reading conference with a goal to work to increase his depth of understanding about characters.  This is important for Joey and all other students to understand.  It is not just about being able to understand the characters in this book.  It truly is about how Joey will read and reflect on characters across all future reading (and will include many more attributes before he finishes elementary school – this is just ONE example).

Joey had some coaching in his reading conference about what he needed to do in order to meet that next level.  But what if the coaching did not stick?  What happens the next day? And what if there are many more students like Joey in the class?

Remember that group size for instruction is based on data and some general guidelines are:

  • 1 student needs it – can be done in 1:1 reading conference
  • 3 – 5 students need it – can be done in small group
  • more than half the class needs it  – whole group mini-lesson

Class data pointed to a need to improve understanding depth of character development.  Planning  an explicit mini-lesson in revising Post – Its, or “seeing again” is needed.  Explicit demonstrations of what revision looks like and the many different ways it can be done will be modeled.  The students also need more time to practice.  Ultimately,  the students will be improving their independent ability to describe character development in order to deepen their reading comprehension while simultaneously increasing their self assessment and reflection skills.  This is HARD work!

What might instruction in revising Post-Its look like?

All students would come to the mini-lesson with a post-it about characters. The lesson will depend upon the data (the post-its in the hands of the students).   It is possible that students may still be struggling with accurately self assessing that will require the teacher to teach the “assessing post-its” lesson AGAIN.  Instruction has to be responsive to the student data!

As I move to instruction on revising, I will also be using some Question Answer Relationship (QAR) talk and labels because it is a strategy that students and teachers are already familiar with.  That may not be included in your work with students/teachers.  Instruction in the mini-lesson  and subsequent student practice may include:

  • self assessment of my post – it (review)
  • talk with a partner about how I rated my post – it and WHY? (review)
  • specific ways I can revise my post – it (includes ideas from the next chart about “HOW” )
  • a second self-assessment of my post – it
  • confirmation/validation with my partner of my revision
  • an opportunity for students to practice this with a post – it I give them
  • an opportunity for students to practice this with their own post – it

How I can Revise

If my goal for the “Revising Post-Its” lesson series is to create a chart that would allow students to show which revision strategies they are using (public evidence of our learning), it may look something like the final chart below.  (Remember this chart will be created with the students, but I do have to have a plan in mind.)  As a teacher I could quickly check on the status of student revision with a simple thumbs up or down in response to this question, “Have I used more than one way to revise a post – it?” in a whole-class setting.  However during a reading conference with an individual student, I could ask them to “show me other ways that you have tried revising?” if they seem to be stuck on just one way.


This was a bit of my holiday thinking.  What would you do differently to increase self-assessment and revise post – its?  I would love to hear your ideas!

* Reflection on large and small group sessions at July #TCRWP Reading Institute 2013 with Kathleen Tolan and Bianca Lavey.

6 responses

  1. […] Part 2  What else can you do with Readers’ Notebooks?  Fostering Self-Assessment and Revisin… […]

  2. Hey Fran,
    Love reading Resource-Full! I so want to get to real self-assessment!

    I am tortured by the “right” or “best” way to use post its and Reader’s Notebooks. I go back and forth with it. Usually falling back on what’s most comfortable for the reader. What do you think about students charting know and wonder in notebooks? Is that a way to look for patterns? I worry about slowing down the reading with lots of writing (or is that what i want to do, slow down reading). Should their “wonderings” be in front of them as they read? Hmm.

    After reading your last two posts I’m thinking more about assessments. I love the continuum as a way to push thinking and self assess, Wondering how students could assess if they were charting K/W thinking. Did I wonder? Did I answer my wonderings? Do I find any patterns?

    Thanks for making me think about assessment. Sometimes I am so focused on the teaching part I loose steam on the essential part: did it work?
    Love the blog,

    1. Julianne,
      I think there are many ways you can use post-its and Reader’s Notebooks. A perfect place for Know/Wonder would be in Notebooks. “Readers as you begin today, remind yourself of at least one of the patterns that you have been following, and then watch for confirmation of your “hunches” today as you read. Jot down your ideas in your Reader’s Notebook to hold onto them through your reading.”

      Quick check at mid-workshop interruption: “Thumbs up if you have jotted down an idea from your reading. Point to head if you added to “wonder.” Tap finger on your shoulder if you have added to or found a new pattern.” (Some use of visual/gestures would give me a quick look at status of class.) Students could also add other ideas to “self-assess” in their book clubs if you are using them.

      I am wondering if the continuum on “know/wonder” would need to be flexible. And here’s why: “If a reader is following a pattern and adding “knows” on to the pattern to confirm, he/she may not be adding any wonders at this time and that would be okay. Multiple patterns, simultaneously, may be a bit overwhelming! What do you think?

      I’m hooked! Now I really am wondering about self-assessment with #wrrdchat work! Drive time thinking today!!!

      I am so glad that you find the blog useful! Attending #tcrwp this summer has added a lot of fuel to my thinking and writing!

      1. Love the hand signals, so smart. Definitely going to use that!

        I do think the continuum needs to be flexible, at least while we explore how it could go. I’m imagining developing this thinking alongside our students in read aloud. We can notice and name! “I’m noticing that we have stepped up (raised the level of) our thinking, what could we name this work?”

        Possible continuum:
        * know
        ** Know growing to wonders
        ** Figured it out! (Know to Wonder)
        ***Following a pattern
        ****Finding a pattern (connecting ideas)

        Another thing to think about is noting the page they find their thinking on, so they can read backward.

        On another note, Vicky Vinton’s responses to her comments are worth studying. I love her focus on critical thinking. This confirms my gut reaction as to what is valuable.

        This process is so infinitely bigger than a read and talk book group.

      2. Ah, Julieanne,
        You are really making me think!

        Do your knows grow to wonders? I am such a “why” person that my wonders usually come first . . .

        I love the idea of noting the page – that is critical in smoothly locating the words that led to the specific entry on the chart.

        so with your continuum, where will you go when you get to multiple wonders, following multiple patterns and finding multiple patterns???? I do not want to “clutter up reading with a lot of writing to lose track of the valuable thinking” but how do students write enough to hold their thinking and keep moving on???


        And maybe there is a question in there for @VickiVintonTMAP

      3. Fran,
        Wasn’t that an AWESOME chat. I have to go back and re read it!

        I think the more proficient readers automatically go to wonder, which is ok but they will need to answer that wonder with a know, so maybe they just start a step ahead of our developing readers.

        Ok the multiple patterns….ummm. Well, I’m thinking that when patterns start to emerge, it might be time for some “low-risk” writing, to kind of flesh out your thinking, come up with an idea that connects the details. Perhaps attempt in a small group, “Readers let’s look at the patterns you have found in your book….What do you think the writer is trying to tell you here?” I could even see encouraging readers to look back on their notebook jots and than reflect in writing, “What patterns do you see emerging from the details in your books? ” That way they will move towards the idea of looking for patterns, clean up there thinking and engage in writing. Maybe do this after talk.

        I’m trying to get solid open-ended questioning in my head. Good practice here.

        Thanks for the push.

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