As I read over my principles students’ second metacognitive activity this weekend, I had a couple thoughts. First, the administrative one: Fewer students submitted this meta: 54% versus 70% for the first meta. Still, it’s more submissions than meta 2 last year. There may be a time constraint at work here–we are beginning midterms, indeed, our first exam will be this coming Friday. [Note: This post was started a week ago.] We have one more meta to do before then. My plan is to discuss Meta 2 on Monday, then do the same for Meta 3 on Wednesday before the exam.
The way I’m doing the metas this semester seems to have helped with the timing problems I experienced last year, when I ended up having to review several metas the class before the exam. This year I discuss the meta before I’ve read the student responses. Then after I’ve reviewed the responses I make any short follow-up observations that seem necessary.
Now, the more interesting thought: I was struck again that reviewing the students’ meta submissions isn’t grading. Grading isn’t the point here. When I’m “grading”, the emphasis, especially when I’m tight for time, is giving the students appropriate credit and writing comments to justify the grade. What I’m doing here is more a conversation with the students. Do I understand what they think and how they are thinking? That’s what I comment on. It’s a very different mindset and dynamic for me at least.