New Feedback Activity: Not Yet/You Bet Lists

If you have been following the Radical at all this month, you know that I’m currently consumed by the notion that we need to rethink the feedback practices that we have integrated into our classrooms.  The simple Dylan Wiliam inspired truths driving all of my thinking are that we have to turn feedback into detective work and that feedback should be more work for the recipient than it is for the donor.

But there’s a flaw in my thinking, y’all:  If we are truly going to develop confident, self-directed learners who thrive in situations for which they were not specifically prepared, we have to remind the kids in our classrooms that they should be actively gathering feedback about their progress BEYOND school, too.  If feedback becomes “a school thing” in the minds of our students, they will be woefully unprepared to meet the demands of the modern workplace where thinking on the fly, leading in the moment, and moving forward in uncertain circumstances really are essential skills.

So I’m tinkering with a new idea that I’m calling Not Yet/You Bet Lists.

Check it out here:

Handout – Not Yet/You Bet List

Like the Unit Overview Sheets that I’ve written extensively about on the Radical (see herehere and here), Not Yet/You Bet Lists are designed to give students opportunities to track the essential content and skills that they are working to master.  But because they are simple tools, students – whether they are baseball players, gymnasts, pianists or martial artists – can use Not Yet/You Bet Lists to detail the progress that they are making in areas of personal interest and passion outside of school.

Think about it like this:  At the beginning of each new season, parents, coaches and/or tutors can help students to generate lists of important skills worth working on.  Those new skills can be listed in the Not Yet column of the Not Yet/You Bet List, serving as a tangible, transparent reminder of just what it is that a student is working towards.

After practices, training sessions, or recitals, students can revisit their Not Yet/You Bet Lists to reflect on the progress that they are making.  When a new skill has been mastered, students can move it from the Not Yet to the You Bet column of the handout. Each time an important outcome is moved, students are reminded that they are making progress and that they can learn – important messages for building confident, self-directed learners.

Can you see why all of this matters?

By asking students to think carefully about their own strengths and weaknesses in learning situations outside of school, Not Yet/You Bet Lists can reinforce core feedback practices that you are trying to integrate into your classroom instruction.  More importantly, by asking students to think carefully about their own strengths and weaknesses in learning situations outside of school, Not Yet/You Bet Lists can reinforce the core notion that actively monitoring individual progress isn’t just a school skill.  It’s a life skill.

So whaddya’ think?  Does this have any value?  

I haven’t tried it with my own students yet — it’s a new idea for me, too.  But I think it just might work!


Related Radical Reads:

Turning Feedback into Detective Work

Activity: Feedback Action Planning Template

Activity: Where Am I Going Reflection Sheet

Feedback Should Be a Work For/Work On Process

  • Laura Henderson


    Hi Bill! I love this blog.  We would like to share with you more about what we are doing.  I would also like to invite you to be on our podcast show.

  • Carol Drace

    I’m eager to use this with my SEL class. I’m never quite sure if my students transfer any of the skills taught in school to situations outside of class, though we have discussed this. I’ll let you know how this works after I introduce it.

  • Joy Rousseau

    IT Director

    About 25 years ago, I began teaching Computer Science and Technology Applications. I noticed that my eyeballs got extremely good at catching typing errors and syntax errors, but my students were not gaining any skills in monitoring their own work. So I stopped being the evaluator and gave my students a rubric for grading. The evaluator's name went on the rubric and if found additional errors that they did not find I took points away from the automatic 100%. Eventually, I developed student mentors that would over look a peer's code and/or product before the student turned it in. We used the SCANS competencies of Team work, peer tutoring, self-evaluation, self-management, etc. as a percentage of their grade average for the class. They learned how to communication with peers, collaborate, negotiate, and produce a higher quality product. Many of these students are in the technology and security industries today and often express their appreication for those classes as helping them in their current positions.


  • Pat Hensley

    Graduate Studies – Special Ed

    I am interested in trying this out this summer in my Practicum class where my students are certified teachers getting their Master's degree in Special Ed. I think this would be a great activity for all classes on all levels! 

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