Do you dedicate hours of classroom time throughout the year to giving specific writing feedback? Whether it’s through writer’s workshops, peer editing, or teacher review, your students may have many opportunities to hone their writing skills. But how many students will carry over their newly-gleaned feedback to future assignments? Here are two ways to encourage long-term synthesis of the new knowledge.
Tip #1: Facilitate Writer’s Workshop in a way that yields specific peer feedback. Whether you divide the class up into pairs, small groups, or remain in one large group, equip students with guided tasks:
- Idea #1: Have students find their favorite sentence in their classmate’s writing. Highlight it. This ensures that students are getting positive feedback as well as constructive criticism. Students look forward to this so much that it’s also a great tool for teachers to use when grading time comes.
- Idea #2: Give students a routine checklist to run through, aligning tasks to whatever skills you’ve previously addressed in the school year. Often this will contain things such as monitoring spelling and mechanics, as well as any writing traits previously taught.
- Idea #3: Post one new item for peer reviewers to check for. This could be a new writing trait you’ve just introduced, such as voice, or a stylistic tool such as favoring strong verbs over the weak-verb/adverb combination. When you grade subsequent final drafts, you may wish to assign the most weight to this element. Focusing largely on one main trait/tool per assignment gives students a clear direction with their writing, and you a clear direction for your grading.
With this 3-part workshop routine, students will both deepens their own writing foundation as the edit, and provide the student author with usable feedback.
Implement a system for students to self-monitor whether they’re utilizing feedback from their previous assignment(s). One option is to create a Goal Ticket template for students to fill out after receiving their graded final drafts back. Students should…
- Idea #4: Write in their own words (based on your feedback) what it is they need to carry over and implement on their next assignment.
- Idea #5: Check off each of their goals before turning in their next assignment
- Idea #6: Attach the Goal Ticket to their next assignment in order to turn it in for grading when the time comes.
A sample goal ticket could look like this:
Based on feedback for things I did well, I should keep doing the following in my writing (positive feedback):
Based on feedback for things I should improve, I plan to do the following on my next assignment
(Students: turn the comments made into specific, measurable goals. For example, if you are to increase word variety, your specific and measurable goal could be: use wordcounter.com to check for frequently used words/make necessary adjustments.).