Finding Time for Timely, Actionable and Effective Feedback

Close up of a computer keyboardOne challenge of giving feedback is giving it to everyone in a timely manner. Elementary educators have approximately 30 students each year and often teach multiple content areas.  Middle and high school teachers, often have 150-200 students in their care. College level educators have even more students. One level of common ground, at every grade level, is the need for feedback.

Research shows that more progress is made by students who receive timely and actionable feedback. The techniques in this post are a few methods that have been useful in my efforts to help students make improvements as they strive toward mastery. I teach language arts, but many of the tools and strategies discussed will work across curricular areas. Remember, feedback does not always have to be negative. Leaving a positive or encouraging response (especially when pointing out a negative) will give you legendary status with your students! Ok…maybe not legendary, but it helps!

So what are some ways to give individualized feedback efficiently?


Make a screencast to send quick video feedback. Add the link to the students work. You can find more information about screencasts in two of my previous posts:

Screencasting your feedback makes it quicker and students can replay it as needed. I use it to offer suggestions, point out positives, and do flash tutorials that are specific to the needs of that student. They can be as broad (covering an entire essay) or as singular (focusing on a specific math problem, writing strategy, or convention) as you need it to be. Students can take the information and run with it!


Person sitting at a computer listening to headphonesKaizena allows you to leave audio feedback for your students in their Google Docs. Similar to what you can do with a screencast, except it is audio feedback only. You can find more information about Kaizena here. Don’t forget to grab the Kaizena extension in the Chrome Web Store!

Google Keep

Google Keep requires a google account. If your school uses Google Apps for Education (GAFE) it is already included in your (and student’s) accounts. My students have learned to use it for note taking when completing research, but it works as a feedback tool too! Open the student’s document. Use the extension‘s checklist feature to write feedback in Google Keep. Make the student a collaborator. Tag each note with a label of the student’s name to keep track and organize notes. This method allows an opportunity for ongoing feedback and student can check off as they make corrections or finish remediation tasks. Need more information on Google Keep? Check out this super quick tutorial: How to Create a Shared Checklist with Google Keep by BetterCloud.

Make Timely Feedback a Rotation

Have students come to you for one of their rotations with the sole purpose of talking through what they are working on. For example, recently we were working in creating strong introductory paragraphs in my language arts class. Students came to my rotation in groups of 7-9. In the 20-25 minute rotation, I was able to skim each intro and give feedback for improvement. They were able to either begin to move on or make modifications in their next rotation station. Students who were not prepared for the required task used the time to email their parents to explain what they were missing and that they needed to work on it that night for homework.

Create Feedback Shortcuts in Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, etc.

Make feedback “macros” in Google Docs, they will apply to nearly all of your GAFE products. Watch this quick tutorial to learn how.  These macros allow you to type in short codes that will be transposed into whatever longer text you wish to appear as your feedback.

Onward! pexels-photo-60230.jpeg

Feedback does not have to mean a written message on everything students document. It can be a useful tool that elevates both teaching and learning. Try one or two of the techniques and let me know how they work in your classroom. Feel free to share a feedback method that works in your classroom in the comments…I am always looking to add new tools to my tool box. I hope these ideas help you find ways to incorporate more feedback, in your classroom, in a way that is both easy to maintain and a positive experience for student and teacher alike!