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Glow and Grow Strategy

A few weeks ago I read about a GREAT strategy for assessment over at Beth's Thinking of Teaching blog.  You can read her original post HERE.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it was something I wanted to try.

Similar to stars and wishes, the "glow and grow" strategy is a perfect tool for my students to use when reflecting and assessing their own, or a peer's work, or for me to use during formal or summative assessments.  Basically, students (or teachers) use a "glowing" highlighter (we use bright yellow) to show what was done really well, and a "growing" green highlighter to show areas that could use some improvement.  I made a quick anchor chart to introduce this strategy to my students today.  (Please excuse the quality of pictures in this post.  I forgot my camera at home today, and had to use my iPad).

Yellow highlighters were easy to find, but green highlighters were nowhere to be found.  So for now, I did the next best thing - green crayons.  I used an elastic to keep the two colours together (and make it quick and easy for the students to get their supplies), and organized them in a bucket in a central location in the class.  (I actually have a set for all students in the class, this was what was left in the bucket while the students were working).

OK - armed with our new strategy, my students began to use it to assess some exemplars from our provincial testing (they had actually just completed the same writing prompt earlier today).  They worked in pairs to highlight glowing and growing areas in the exemplars, then gave the pieces an overall mark and reasons why.  LOVED the accountable talk that was going on with my students as I was walking around the classroom!  (Fingers crossed that this accountable talk wasn't just beginner's luck, and they don't tire of this strategy).

 I then had them go back to their own original writing (the same topic as the exemplars they just assessed).  I was able to whip up a quick little two-column reflection / assessment sheet while they were working in pairs, so I handed it out while they were using their highlighters to mark "glowing and growing" areas in their own work.  They completed the reflection sheet I gave them, and guess what I'm marking providing descriptive feedback on tonight???  We have a principal walk-through tomorrow (3 other principals visiting our school for classroom tours) and they want to see our student portfolios and examples of descriptive feedback posted.

I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but I turned the "o" in glow into a sun, and the "o" in grow into a flower (the same images on our anchor chart to help them visualize and remember).

So excited about this new (and quick and easy) strategy.  Thanks for a great idea, Beth!!!

Happy Monday!  (And YAY for 4 day weeks!!!)


  1. awesome!! I wish we worked together. What a pair we would make. This is fabulous and I am totally going to STEAL it right now!!!
    Thinking of Teaching

  2. Steal away - I stole the idea from you in the first place!!! ;) Thanks, Beth!

  3. I just posted about your post too....gotta spread this fabulous around.

  4. What a great strategy!!! I love it!!! Totally borrowing it!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop

  5. This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to use it with my class!

    3rd Grade Thoughts

    1. Thank-you so much, Stephanie! It was a hit with my class - all year our focus has been on descriptive feedback and students responding to feedback - what a great and simple way to accomplish this.

  6. This is amazing!!!! I am just finishing my student teaching in first grade and love the positiveness of even our "opportunities"! This works for any grade. Thanks for all the amazing ideas!!!

    1. Thanks, Kirsten! Best of luck with your teaching career!!!

  7. This is such an awesome idea! And a perfect way to get kids thinking about warm and cool comments! (A great peer conferencing/ writing strategy, and a great life strategy as well!)

    1. Thank-you! (and I LOVE the wording of warm and cool comments, too)!

  8. I thought of your precious kids when I wrote this post today-

    Maybe you can try it out with them this week. ;)

  9. I love this idea! All of my students have IEPs, and I like how it makes them look for the positive aspects of their writing, as well as areas of need. Thanks for sharing:)

  10. Love this, I am always trying to come up with ways that my kindergarteners can assess their work, I will do a little tweaking and use this terrific idea!
    A Teachers Touch

  11. Thank you for sharing! It is nice to see what other teachers in Ontario are doing (especially those teaching Grade 6). We are just finishing up persuasive writing and are at the stage where we need to self and peer assess. I like how you put your feedback directly beside the student self assessment. Nice!

  12. I LOVE the glow/grow idea. Thanks for sharing!

    Grade ONEderful

  13. I absolutely love this!! Thank you so much for sharing.

    The Eager Teacher Blog

  14. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing. It is great to see what other Ontario teachers are doing. Thanks for Blogging!!


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