Bump It Up Walls ~ Attempt #2: Part 1

I took a stab at Bump It Up Walls a while back but have wanted to try doing one again…

So, I attended a short ‘break-out’ professional development session recently that was a part of a Learning Classroom Follow-Up Meeting. The meeting, led by my good friend and brilliant teacher colleague Heather J., was about her experiences using Bump It Up Walls.  I have decided to try Bump It Up Walls for the second time because I have a feeling that, if nothing else comes of it (such as deep assessment as learning), at least the Wall and the steps to building it will act as visual reminder and goal for my grade 12 students.

Here are what I hope are the steps Heather suggested during her short 25-minute session (I’m hoping I didn’t miss any):

  1. Get a sample of their writing beforehand as a diagnostic.
  2. Build a rubric together.  ** The teacher then types it up.
  3. Heather chose to, I believe,  handwrite a sample of the writing assignment (essay or paragraph), live, in front of the students using either the SMARTBoard or a document camera. ** This teacher sample should have essential parts of the essay / paragraph deliberately missing.
  4. Heather then had the students dissect this this deliberately flawed teacher-written essay / paragraph using the class-made (co-constructed) rubric.
  5. The next step then returned the students’ diagnostic writing sample to students for them to ‘dissect’, in pairs, using the co-constructed rubric. **The teacher had typed up all of the writing samples but had removed any names to make it anonymous.
  6. The students were to find, I believe, 2 things the writer did well as well as 1 thing the writer could change in addition to giving a level for each of the four KTCA categories.
  7. I believe the anonymous writing samples are placed up on a wall and the improvement suggestions are then handwritten on arrows, which are then placed on the wall next to the writing sample.
  8. Once the Bump It Up Wall is assembled, students are then to go up with a red post-it note and, after reading all of the suggestions, each student is to put their initials on their red post-it as well as choosing one suggestion from the whole wall that applies to their own writing. That is to say, each student might say, “That suggestion about using more transitions applies to me. That’s something I have to remember.” Then when it comes time to actually write their assignment, each student goes and retrieves that red post-it to re-activate that self-suggestion.

I have some questions, I think:

I remember Anne Davies, an assessment guru, talking about the power of having a visual rubric up on the wall for students to use to gauge their answers against. (She talks about visual rubrics here at her website.) Here is my question: how are Bump It Up Walls, however, similar or different to visual rubrics or exemplar walls?

I suppose, to answer my own question, Bump It Up Walls are, perhaps, more ‘living’ documents than a visual rubric. That is to say, with the visual rubric / exemplar wall either the teacher has gathered some exemplars from previous years or has generated the exemplars, but am I correct in thinking that these are more ‘passive’? That is to say, the students are to simply look at the exemplars, against which they are to compare their own work?

Bump It Up Walls, however, appear to ask the students to be more involved as they have to actively judge work and this work belongs to a fellow student. So, in terms of student ownership, it appears that a B.I.U.W. comprised of student work with suggestions has the potential to be far more powerful simply because it is the students involved actively and not passively.

I have to pause to watch a video on Bump It Up Walls again (There’s one below) and to talk to colleagues as well as my brilliant wife who teaches Grade 1 /2…

To be continued…

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