Feedback Breaks





Feedback breaks are brief exercises that are used at pause points in lessons to allow students to take stock of their learning. They are essentially self-assessment exercises built strategically into moments of the lesson where retrospection would be helpful, for example after one concept has been presented, before moving on to another concept that builds on previous understanding. 

Feedback breaks also give students an opportunity to articulate their emerging understandings in words, which helps them process what they are learning. Teachers get information about how students are progressing, and students have an opportunity to consolidate their emerging understandings of new content. A teacher can also strategically use a question at a critical pause point to help determine the direction for the remainder of the lesson. Dylan Wiliam has called these hinge point questions. See Dylan talk about these questions on video here: .


Blank Slides.
Recommended for middle school through college. Source: Rob McEntarffer, Lincoln Public Schools

What's Clear? What's Unclear?
This formative assessment tactic can be used in place of the times when teachers ask if there are any questions and get few or no responses. It involves pausing during a lesson to have students reflect on what is clear/unclear to them. After think time, cold call a few students, or combine with think-pair-share to report out quickly. You can use the chat function or poll feature in virtual, synchronous contexts. By giving students time to think and then calling on them, many insights and questions will surface. This technique serves two formative assessment purposes. First, it provides students an opportunity to self-assess their understanding of the concepts in a lesson and to practice metacognitive thinking. Second, it provides feedback to the teacher that is useful for planning subsequent instruction.
Recommended for grades K-12.

One-Minute Papers. After a lesson, students say or write down one thing that struck them about the content of the lesson and one question they have about it. This strategy is one kind of “exit ticket.” Key or frequent student questions can be addressed at the beginning of the next lesson. Sometimes an expanded version of this technique is used, such as a “3-2-1” ticket: 3 things I learned today, 2 things I want to learn more about (or I found interesting), and 1 question I still have. The last two are sometimes reversed (2 things I still don’t understand and 1 thing I want to know more about). The numbers, format, and questions can be adjusted to fit students’ age and developmental level.

Recommended for grades 3-12.

Hinge Point Questions. A hinge-point falls during a lesson at a point where the teacher needs to make a decision whether to move on or not. A hinge-point question is a question specifically designed to help a teacher make that decision. The question should allow for a quick response from all students in a short amount of time. It can be a multiple-choice question or short answer but should not take long to evaluate. Students can write an answer on a white board, use clickers, hold up fingers etc. so that the teacher can quickly evaluate responses from all students on-the-fly and use the information to immediately adjust instruction. An important part of hinge-point questions is that (a) they are planned ahead of time and (b) as part of the planning the teacher has identified what he or she will do next depending on how students respond. For more reading and some examples:
use green, yellow, and red buttons to show how familiar they are with a new concept. 
Hinge Point Examples