March Graider of the Month: Dane Hixon

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At The Graide Network, we believe that feedback is a powerful learning tool. We also believe that giving effective feedback is a teachable and highly valuable skill. When new Graiders join our team, they are excellent writers, diligent students, hard workers, and passionate about education. But often, they are just beginning to learn what highly effective feedback looks like and how to carefully craft feedback in a way that will best support teaching and learning.

Our application and onboarding process is designed to provide new Graiders with the knowledge, tools, coaching, and support they need to become feedback experts. It’s incredibly exciting for our team to watch new applicants grow and flourish in their feedback skills, and learn to give feedback that is goal-oriented, actionable, prioritized, and student friendly.

This month, we are thrilled to name Dane Hixon as our March Graider of the Month. Dane is a perfect example of someone who was able to take feedback and coaching from our team and use it to quickly become an exceptionally talented Graider. We are so grateful for his ability to receive and give highly effective feedback; and we’re excited to celebrate his work!

About Our March Award Winner

This spring, Dane will be graduating from Vanderbilt University with a double major in English and Earth and Environmental Sciences. With a passion for and training in both English and STEM, Dane has proven himself to be an incredibly versatile Graider. Over the past school year, he has worked on dozens of assignments from middle school English to AP Biology and everything in between. Teachers consistently praise his ability to deliver feedback that is detailed and specific, actionable, and constructive. Here are just a few examples of the tremendous impact he has had:

You provide clear and specific critiques of the students’ writing but keep the tone positive and encouraging. Thank you!
— Mr. Battle
Your feedback is very helpful. You left valuable comments for points earned as well as points missed. I was excited to share this information with my students.
— Mr. Lawson

Apart from his Graider of the Month nomination, we are also celebrating Dane’s recent acceptance into law school at Washington University in St. Louis. While he’s still waiting to hear back from a few more schools, Dane intends to study law after graduation. We’re sad he won’t be pursuing a career in the classroom given his feedback skills, but we are confident he will have a great impact as a lawyer and accomplish amazing things. “For me, pursuing law is all about helping people, helping to work for the future, and encouraging justice wherever I can. I plan to pursue criminal law because I think it’s where I can do the most good - and where there is the greatest need in our country.” We are so excited to see all of the amazing things Dane accomplishes in the future in the courtroom and beyond.

Why The Graide Network is Dane’s Perfect Part-Time Job

Dane heard about The Graide Network through a school email and was immediately intrigued. “I was excited about the idea of helping students learn and grow by providing them with an outside voice to support them, in addition to their teachers. I think having outside feedback from students in college, who were in their shoes recently, can be really helpful and encouraging. I am happy to be that voice.”

Dane recently worked on an assignment where students were writing about a Julia Alvarez novel, “In The Time of the Butterflies”. At the very same time, Dane was also reading a series of short stories by Julia Alvarez for his major and writing a paper on her work. “It was really enlightening to see how high school students engaged with the same author I was writing about in my college course. It was exciting to offer feedback on a topic so close to me, where I could really lend on personal experience. It was a great opportunity to provide personalized, detailed, and formative feedback to really help students learn and grow.”

While English is one of his majors and certainly one of his passions, his favorite assignments have been supporting our STEM teachers. “When most people think feedback, they immediately think English and history. They think about essays, and most of the assignments that teachers post are essays. But I love getting to work on statistics, biology, physics, calculus - those are some of my favorite courses to support and giving feedback in those courses is equally important for students to learn and grow.”

Dane’s Journey to Becoming a Feedback Pro

Dane is the first person to admit that he wasn’t a feedback expert when he first applied to work for The Graide Network. “My first few practice assignments were a little on the rough side, honestly. I had to make a lot of adjustments and spend time reading and learning about feedback best practices. Everyone on The Graide Network staff was super helpful and they provided me with specific, concrete feedback on my work, ways I can improve, and the types of things they look for in feedback. In this way, I was able to make sure my feedback was valuable and impactful for students and teachers. Through a series of small lessons, I was able to build up my skills and become more and more effective.” This is what we love to hear! Our team is so grateful for Dane’s learning mindset and his ability to understand and internalize feedback to grow his skills.

Curious to build your own feedback expertise? We recommend checking out our Feedback and Grading Resources page where you can dig into the best practices, tips, and guidelines for honing your skills.

Thank you, Dane!

We are deeply grateful for the hard work and care of all of our Graiders, and especially those like Dane, who are committed to improving their own skills so they can provide the best possible support to teachers and students. Thank you, Dane, and congrats!

Thank you for including leading questions under the “opportunities for improvement” column. Doing so requires students to reflect on their writing AND think as they’re writing. Students said these questions were the most useful in their reflection form. Students were also quite proud that the length of the “glow” column was nearly equal to their “grows”. Seeing that proficiency and praise on at least one area of the rubric encouraged students to strive to do the same on the other parts.
— Ms. Christman