Try This: "Oh So Great Work!"
"Try This" is a series of blog posts geared towards educators that features smart but simple tips from KLS teachers. Our hope is that these bite-size ideas are something you can implement in your own classroom right away. We’d love to hear how it goes. Leave a comment or tag us on social media @khanlabschool if you try any of these strategies!
Lower School Math Specialist Michael Hurley starts each Math class with a warm-up he calls “Oh So Great Work!” He chooses a recent piece of outstanding student work to show to his class and asks students to point out the details that make this work particularly excellent.
He started doing this, along with the entire Lower School Math Team, at the beginning of this school year. The Math team was trying to come up with a way to set expectations around the quality of math exit tickets that students should submit after they finished a math lesson.
Hurley said, “It started originally as a way to share clear expectations with students. We wanted to show them exactly what an outstanding exit ticket looked like, and I would highlight simple procedural things like how this student completely filled out the exit ticket or explained their answer.”
It worked so well that Hurley has continued using “Oh So Great Work!” with his math classes into Term 2. He sees two main benefits to this strategy. First, it allows him to point out mathematical concepts and start a conversation based on those ideas. Sometimes the discussion directly relates to that day’s lesson, but other times it reviews previously taught skills.
The second benefit is that “Oh So Great Work!” serves as a quick and easy way to shout out students who are doing excellent work. Hurley said, “I want my students to know that their work is seen and appreciated. I love to show them that their hard work is paying off!”
Hurley rotates through students to make sure that everyone’s work is featured throughout the term. As you might expect, students are proud when their work is highlighted in “Oh So Great Work!” and often list that as their glow (what they’re most proud of) in their weekly 1:1 conferences with their advisor.
This strategy is simple, only takes a few minutes, and can be adapted to fit any content area. I teach English Language Arts, but I’ve been able to successfully use this strategy with my classes this term. Our class was resetting expectations around the reflections students write about their daily reading, and I used the “Oh So Great Work!” strategy to feature outstanding reading log reflections.
My students were able to thoughtfully describe what was excellent about their classmates’ work, and even better, began adding those elements into their own writing. “Oh So Great Work!” is a strategy I’ll definitely continue to use!
If you want to try it with your own classes, we listed out the steps we use to highlight "Oh So Great Work!" below. Let us know how it goes for you by leaving a comment or tagging us @khanlabschool on social media!
- Before class, choose an outstanding piece of student work to highlight. Take a picture of it. Crop out the student’s name if necessary.
- At the start of class, project the picture (or share your screen on Zoom) so all students can see the details of the featured piece of work.
- Ask students: Why is this work "oh so great"?
- Call on students to share why they think this exit ticket is great.
- Highlight any key learning points that come up in the student discussion.
- Ask your students to start a drumroll before you reveal who did this day's "Oh So Great Work!"
- Announce the student who did today’s “Oh So Great Work!” Bonus points for using your best sports announcer voice here!
- Have the whole class celebrate the student who did the “Oh So Great Work!” with 2 claps and a whoosh, or another cheer that your students know.
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