Teaching Strategies: Using Samples to Improve Student Work

Using student samples to demonstrate great work gives students concrete examples of what you want done. By viewing the work of peers, many students get the mental light bulb that says, “I get it! That’s what I’m supposed to do!”

Teaching strategies that call out the exemplary work of others are great ways to demonstrate an assigned task. With that in mind, today on TeachHUB.com, frequent contributing writer Jordan Catapano, who is a seasoned high school English teacher based in the Chicago suburbs, takes a look at some teaching strategies designed to “Lead by example” via giving students effective samples of past students’ work.

Jordan’s ideas include:

Show Them Samples, and Have Them Decide Which Ones They Would Use

Show Them Samples and Have Them Develop Rubrics

Give Them Various Samples, and Have Them Pick One to Imitate

And More!

Here’s Jordan’s take on a paragraph entitled, “Have Them Compare Their Own Work to Samples”: “Once students complete their own task, have them revise their work based on the qualities they observe in various samples. Ask students if their work emulates the “Good” examples or the “Great” ones, and what steps they see as necessary – based on the examples – to improve their work. This works well for peer editing as well, as students can give one another praise or suggestions based on elements observed in the exemplars.

Jordan sums up his article thusly: “Students’ work improves when students can base their learning and products off of a clear example. While just giving examples to students is a start, engaging them in conversations and activities that inspire them to recognize the quality elements they want to aspire towards will improve their learning even further.”

How do you use samples in your classroom to improve student learning? Share your ideas with our TeachHUB.com community in the comments section!