Ladder of Feedback

PDF Download: Ladder of Feedback – Please use with your students. Respond in the comments with what worked and what you would change. 

Ladder of Feedback

I am working with MYP students on a Design unit at the moment in which they are designing a solution under the umbrella topic of “Improving Lives”. Everyone is at the stage of needing feedback on ideas in order to help inform their decision of which idea to pursue in more detail. To guide this process, I went in search of a thinking routine or protocol that might provide some structure to this feedback. This was prompted after discussing the idea of feedback (specifically the feedback I was giving students) with our Head of Upper School and me realizing that I needed to be more intentional in the way I gave feedback. This document from the Oregon Department of Education: Six Insights on Feedback, was a particularly useful refresher on all things Feedback related. I also found this post: Five Evidence Gathering Routines to be another useful one for future reference.

From there, I  was inspired by a Mind/Shift post on Developing Students’ Ability to Give and Take Effective Feedback.  It detailed a High School idea of using DeBono’s thinking hats to guide feedback and a modified ‘warm/cool’ feedback protocol for primary students. While these ideas got me thinking, I was looking for something a little more in depth than the warm/cool and a little more structured – or more specifically, something with a more defined structure already in place.

I came across some work on Student-Centered Peer Assessment that was really helpful. It outlined what peer assessment was, what it was not, and how to use it with students. It also outlined the use of the Ladder of Feedback. A little more investigating led me to this document on the Ladder of Feedback that went into further detail about the origin and the stages in the ladder.

Note: The first document led me to a website that was new to me: Students At The Centre Hub. I haven’t had a chance to fully check this out, but it looks pretty good. 

I found another resource which led me to add the final stage – giving thanks. I can’t remember where I saw this, but I liked the addition (and will try and find where I found this to link back to here).


I used it with my 9th graders and it was pretty successful. It definitely scaffolded the conversations and encouraged participation. Student ideas were validated by their peers and opportunities arose for students to hear concerns and questions. Overall, the students said the protocol was useful and was something they saw as effective in getting information about their ideas. There were some groups who wanted to jump right up to the suggestions but had to slow down and start at the bottom. Some kids found giving thanks quite challenging so we talked about offering thanks for simply sharing your ideas.

I will use this again. I want to listen to what is being said by students and what I am saying as a sentence starter when kids get ‘stuck’ and see if the text on the sheet doesn’t need modifying to make it more effective.

How do you create opportunities for Peer Feedback in your classroom?

Edited to add: A friend (and member of my Mastermind Group) sent me the link to a PDF Download from IDEO called The Feedback Tango.  It goes into the nuances between those giving and receiving the feedback and with older students could be analysed as is. Younger students might need help with having it translated into more ‘kid speak’.  Both groups would “enjoy” doing a little Tango in the classroom 🙂


Prioritizing Play

PDFs for Workshop

Sonya – Play




Pedagogical documentation

Mirror and Light

Learning Through Play

Learning Through Play – Neuroscience

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The entrance to Marina Gijzen’s Office (Head of Primary) at NIS. The invitation to play was proudly displayed.

Next week, I will be leading two extended sessions on Prioritizing Play.  Now, I am no expert on Play but I am an educator and a mom and I want to think more deeply about how play is the work of childhood (to quote Jean Piaget) or, as Mr. Rogers elaborated: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.”

In preparation for Learning2 at the American School in Japan, I have been collating resources/links/posts about play.  I am sharing them below in the hopes of inspiring those dabbling with play, to delve deeper into all it has to offer us as learners, parents, and educators.

The Image Of The Child

I will be starting the Extended Sessions and this blog post in the same way: asking the participants and the readers to consider: Who is the child? For more on what that means, read this post, or take a moment to reflect on your image of the child – the person in your classroom, the person you will interact with in your lesson. What is your image of them – because it will influence everything about how you engage with them.

Peter Gray

Resources on Play

These will be updated over the next week and following the sessions. If you have suggestions for material, please link below or send me links! 

Peter Gray Ph.D

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Notes by me from “The Decline of Play” by Peter Gray

Teacher Tom

Teacher Tom has a great blog and is a teacher who embodies play in all that he does, in his own words:

Play is a pure good and should not need to be defended, but I also know we live in a real world where  policy-makers still consider play a mere relief from serious work rather than a core aspect of the real work of being human.”

-Teacher Tom

The Genius of Play

  • 6 Benefits of Play
  • Play Facts
  • Play Talk: Experts on education, childhood, and play share the latest information and research about the importance of play, childhood development, and tips you can use.

NZ Education Review

Creativity and Curiosity and Resilience

Play Frameworks

Linda Liukas – Principles of Play from Nation Conferences on Vimeo.

Benefits of Play


“Documentation is not about finding answers, but generating questions.” (Filippini in Turner & Wilson, 2010, p. 9)

Playgrounds and Libraries

Loose Parts


Lifelong Kindergarten


Play In The Early Years

Play and High School


DTN poster

Innovation Playlist

When you are ready to take the leap to innovate or change at your school and you want a guide to help you, look no further than the Innovation Playlist by Ted Dintersmith. The Innovation Playlist can help your school make positive, informed change. It hosts a WEALTH of information organized into “Albums” and “Tracks” that will guide your thinking about innovation.

Ideas Worth Sharing

Here are some of my favorite TED talks related to all things playful: