Focus On: Bump It Up #1

Regarding my first attempt…

Class: Grade 12 College English
September 27, 2011

What happened:
As we neared the end of our first unit, I asked the students to submit a short sample of their writing and from that I wanted to gauge the depth of their answers and their writing style.

Using these answers as a sort of inspiration, I wrote what I thought would be a Level 1 answer and I then wrote a Level 4 answer. I put both of these answers on a handout along with some guiding questions, such as “What did you notice about how the author used examples in this answer?”

I then had each of the students cut out a large arrow and on that arrow, I asked them to write one thing they noticed about the difference between the Level 1 answer and the Level 4 answer.

We then taped all of these arrows on the wall.



After having attempted Bump It Up walls, I feel good that I have broken the seal, but now have tons of questions about what to do next and whether I did this attempt anywhere near correctly.

For example:

  1. I showed my grade 12’s a Level 1 and then a Level 4. Should I have shown them a Level 2 and Level 3?
  2. Is this, on some level, engaging in the mindset or philosophy behind Problem-based Learning?
  3. My old school teacher brain wonders “What if they don’t see the things I know they need to see?” I suppose it is letting go of the ‘right answer’, but being the professional teacher, I know that there are certain concepts they need to get / are required to get.
  4. One teacher I know modelled writing the Level 3 or 4 in front of the students. Is this more powerful?
  5. Once the students wrote on their arrows, should I have had them read them outloud for all to hear?
  6. Should I gather and type up those suggestions to hand out to the students?
  7. I watched one video where the teacher, once the arrows were on the board, had the students place initialled post-it’s on the arrow(s) that applied to them = steps or concepts that they needed to remember. How powerful is this step?
  8. How often would a teacher use this? The voice inside my brain is saying ‘As often as the teacher decides it is needed’ but what have other teachers discovered? Have they used it only once a semester? Or might it be powerful enough to use for all assignments? And what happens to the material from the board?



2 responses to “Focus On: Bump It Up #1

  1. Hey there!
    Here are some thoughts – not answers, but thoughts …
    A. When you say ‘the correct way’ I don’t think there is one. To me, “bump it up walls” (or BIUW, as a wise colleague once told me) are a version of Anne Davies’ visual rubrics. I have seen several different ways of using BIUWs – for me, the essential characteristics are that there are samples of work and that students are involved in (and, therefore, can explain) how to improve their own performance with regard to some standards / expectations / success criteria.
    Thinking about your first question, I have always shown (or had students find) Level 1, 2, 3, and 4 work. I think either one can work. The thing I really like about showing each of the levels is that students might be more able to place their own work on the continuum. There is a lot of space between Level 1 and Level 4, so if there are samples of steps along the way, it might help students to set smaller goals. Also, I think the more samples you have the better (maybe that’s to a certain extent – maybe it’s possible to have too many samples?!?) – so that students don’t feel obliged to ‘copy’ the Level 4 example exactly. It’s more about the characteristics of Level 4 and how to improve – not about that specific Level 4 piece. So I have used Level 1, 2, 3, and 4.

  2. Pingback: Bump It Up Walls ~ Attempt #2: Part 1 | mistercooke's teaching blog

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