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Adding Student Evidence to Learning Goals

I've been using my Building Better Responses Goals and Resources for a few years now, and they are one of my absolute favorite resources to use in the classroom because they just work for my students.  And they prepare the students for testing better than anything else I have used.  But, something new I've been doing this year is adding a student evidence piece alongside the goal - proving the mastery of the goal.  I am loving how this small change has excited my students and motivated them to work even harder.  It's an awesome thing to see.

If you are new to my Building Better Responses resources, you can read a little more about them in blog posts I have HERE and HERE.  Basically, it's our system of scaffolding the learning goals needed to compose a well thought out response - to reading, writing, or math questions (I have resources for all 3).  Students use colors to code their work - showing exactly where they have included each learning goal in their answer - actively monitoring their thinking and analyzing and reflecting on their strengths and areas of need.

There are many ways to use the better response goals, but in my class, I teach them whole group - starting with the first goal and slowly adding to them - usually adding a new goal about every two or three weeks - this really allows for mastery at each step.  And each time my students show mastery of a goal, I add an evidence piece to the space on the board beside the goals.

 I post both my reading and math response goals on a small section of whiteboard, separated with some washi tape. (I finally found a use for washi tape!)  Each time we add a new goal, I model what a response should look like, and we talk about how we would color code the evidence in our answer.  The evidence piece always comes from student work - it is not a copy of an answer I've modelled - that doesn't show mastery of anything except the ability to copy from the board.  ;)

The first time I chose evidence pieces from the students - ones where they had really shown mastery of the goal, the students were very surprised ... and a little proud, too.

So, we kept it going.  We've recently added our fourth reading response goal and third math response goal, and I can't believe how well the evidence piece is working for my students' motivation.  Each time we do a response, my students work SO HARD to have their work chosen as the evidence piece, and they are so excited to share their work with me (and sometimes I add more than one evidence piece simply because it was too hard to choose ... and so more students have the opportunity to have their work shared - and all students will make it onto this board at some point through the year).  Most of the time their responses are written with resources from the Building Better Responses resource or my Stick-It-Together resources (the better responses and stick-it-together pair very well together), but really, any form of response would work well.

I am so proud of the work they've been doing - and I know when they see their work showcased like this, they're proud of themselves, too.


  1. Good morning,
    I teach middle school Earth Science and I've found ways to use the Stick it Together Reading Responses in class (my students love them!), but would love to extend thinking in labs. Would your "Building Better Responses" possibly work this way?

    1. Hi Tanya! Hmmm ... some of the steps would, but I'm not sure all of them would. If you take a look at the preview on TpT you'll be able to see all the goals I've included - some of them are text specific, so I'm not sure they'd be a great fit. I'm so glad to hear you can use the Stick-Its, though. :)

  2. How can I adapt this for second grade? Our math curriculum demands written response and I feel like this would be of great support!

    1. Hi Justyn and Courtney - I think this can definitely be adapted for second grade - just with a little more teacher modelling and maybe taking the steps (goals) at a slower pace. I know of many teachers using the Building Better Responses with 2nd grade classes. Thank-you so much for stopping by!

  3. So I'm thinking a myriad of extension possibilities for counseling, too, Jennifer, and I'm feeling grateful for your hard (and HEART) work! I can feel your students' pride through their evidence explorations.


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