This past month my 6th graders have been working on videos in iMovie using photos and video I took of them completing a Science lesson. They handed them in last week after grading themselves using the rubric for the assignment. I then watched each one and graded it, stapling my rubric under theirs.

As I was grading them I realized that there were a lot of places for improvement. Rather than me taking the time to meet with each group individually I set aside a few classes as film reviewer sessions. We watched everyone’s movie and gave positive feedback and constructive criticism. I modeled the first few comments and then let them try it.

What ensued was the most effective feedback session I’ve witnessed in a while, adults included.

They said things like, “I think your music was good, but your text went too fast.” They even were able to take the feedback without trying to justify or respond.

The proof of the power of these feedback session was when I let them return to their projects to work on them based on the feedback they’d gotten.  I was blown away by how some students completely reorganized their images or deleted all of their text and changed it. Some re-recorded their opening videos or added smoother transitions.

This is a new group of students for me and it is their first attempt at an iMovie project. I was really proud of them. 

It took 2 1/2 class periods, but the self-assessment skills they learned were worth the time. I foresee these skills carrying into other projects as they review their final products.

Here is an example of one of the projects:


Many of the students emulated things they liked about each other’s videos, which is apparent in the above video, whose last clip had some inspiration from a classmate’s improv video clip that was a hit.

Do you have any examples of using effective feedback with your students?


  1. Reply

    Thanks for sharing this! I watched some students presenting PowerPoint projects last week… a lot of reading slides, huge chunks of text, etc. I wasn't convinced the students learned a lot about the content during the process of creating those projects. When I spoke to some students yesterday about them, they mentioned one student whose project was graphically savvy with little text, and he said he received a lower "grade" than his peers, but the students agreed his was the best! How is this possible?!!

  2. Reply

    There's a bevy of research that suggests that kids respond to feedback only, as opposed to grade (or even grades and feedback). It is so important to remember that the learning process doesn't end when the assignment is turned in, as you and your students so effectively demonstrated with this project. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Reply

    Thanks for sharing! I think the idea of making a video was a great idea. It is always fun for the students to be in front of a camera! I also think that it is very impressive what your students have learned and put together. For one of my education classes, we had to make a "mock webpage," and I included a link to my "teaching philosophy" video, which I made using Windows Movie Maker. A student in one of my education classes told me she was interested in learning how people can put videos together with pictures, texts, and music. I told her it's very easy and fun, but she's worried that she is not "tech savvy" enough. Just wait till I show her what your 6th graders were capable of creating! Awesome job!

  4. Reply

    Hi Mary Beth,

    I think these kind of learning experiences are great for the kids. They often listen to each other comments and take them on board much more than they respond to the teacher's! It's really wonderful how they went back and improved their projects with the feedback in mind. I've seen it so many times when my kids finish writing and then either just tell me they've finished or close their book and start thinking about something else. But, of course they do that – who has ever suggested anything different? As teachers, we need to nudge them in the right direction and get them to review their work, show it to their peers, get feedback and revise it if necessary. As you showed in the post above, teacher modelling is also important before this process begins. That way we can ensure they focus on the positive and frame their criticisms constructively.

    Great job!

  5. Reply

    Mary Beth,

    I appreciate your recent posts on assessments. I am struggling with this myself & find your reflections & tips beneficial. I constantly struggle with the rubric phenomena. I know that there is research for the pros & cons of using rubrics. While reading your post, I was wondering what your thoughts were on how effective the rubric was in this particular project. And/or if you found the feedback to be more beneficial.

  6. Reply


    In my perfect world there would be no grades, only feedback. I find the rubric helps me satisfy the requirements that I grade students. Even rubrics, however, are subject to some gray area of interpretation, and students still are more interested in their grade than the rubric itself.

    A friend of mine suggested that I use feedback with my students and use the grades to satisfy the parents. I've already told them that I don't care about grades, I just do them because I have to. I tell them how proud i am of the learning process they've gone through.

  7. Bryn


    This are such neat projects the kids created. I really like the idea of kids giving feedback to their peers, but it is important to show them how to do this properly, just like you did. I think having the rubric to go along with the project also helps with student feedback. Great job on these projects!

    • mbteach


      Thanks, Bryn.

      What’s amazing is how much better my teaching and feedback has gotten over the last year! The videos the kids made this year way surpassed the ones from the previous year because of my experimentation with new kinds of feedback and a lengthy planning process tied to a rubric. Every day you learn something new!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.