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Responding to student writing

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  • very useful as it highlights wht a teacher should do to make writing really affective
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Responding to student writing

  1. 1. Responding to Student Writing<br />Elizabeth Nesius<br />Writing Center Coordinator<br />
  2. 2. This presentation can be found at www.slideshare.net/enesius<br />
  3. 3. Elements of the Assignment<br />Will the students be able to revise the essay?<br />Are they demonstrating writing skills, knowledge or understanding of material, or both?<br />Is this an early, middle, or capstone assignment?<br />Is it an in-class or take-home essay?<br />How long is the essay?<br />
  4. 4. Focusing Responses <br />You don’t have to address everything!<br />Putting down your pen<br />Sometimes you have to let yourself read and enjoy it!<br />Fight the urge to correct every mistake—<br />Inhibits learning<br />Takes more time<br />Students will be overwhelmed or discouraged by too many comments<br />
  5. 5. Focused Responses I<br />Helpful when multiple writing assignments given during a semester<br />Tell the students purpose of assignment (the learning outcomes) in advance and focus grading on this purpose<br />E.g. a compare-contrast essay<br />Purpose to think critically about 2 items and learn essay structure<br />Response focuses on points of comparison, balance, and organization<br />Respond to other elements in future assignments<br />
  6. 6. Focused Responses II<br />Helpful for longer papers or papers with multiple problems<br />Drafting important<br />Focus on “higher order” problems first<br />Organization<br />Thesis statement<br />Meeting basic requirements of assignment<br />Address other concerns in future drafts<br />Support and content<br />Save grammar for final draft if possible<br />
  7. 7. The Question of Revision<br />Not revised<br />Limit comments—point out one or two examples of errors<br />Students need a purpose to read comments<br />Revised<br />Focus on the major issues<br />Try to choose no more than 3 types of problems<br />Point out a few examples, but leave the rest for students to find<br />
  8. 8. Writing Focus<br />Response focus will be more on writing elements than content<br />Assignments address current writing lessons <br />Assessment should focus on those elements<br />Remind students of the connections between lessons<br />Writing skills are cumulative<br />Make sure students are clear on what content elements will be addressed<br />
  9. 9. Content Focus<br />Response focus will be on what students must show they know<br />Can simply use check marks to check off required elements<br />Organization and mechanics secondary<br />If not graded for writing elements, no need to mark them<br />Students confused/frustrated by things marked that don’t contribute to grade<br />
  10. 10. Content Focus Exceptions<br />Journals<br />Usually graded for content<br />Repeated assignment (supplemental goal often to improve writing)<br />Marking some mechanics can be helpful as they can be applied to future entries<br />Readability Impeded<br />Return to student (unmarked) and request rewrite<br />Holds students accountable for proofreading<br />Not for use with students who are severely lacking skills<br />
  11. 11. Early/Mid-Semester Assignment<br />Scaffolding<br />First/Early assignments should have more comments than later assignments<br />It’s ok to rewrite/rephrase a little in the beginning<br />Later, suggest changes, but don’t give example<br />Later still, note where changes need to be made, but don’t give change suggestion<br />Inform students of expectation that comments be applied to future assignments<br />
  12. 12. End-of-Semester Assignment<br />Not intended for revision<br />No need for in-text comments: Put down the pen!<br />Give grade (on last page or back) and list of (a few) strengths and weaknesses<br />Could use rubric alone<br />
  13. 13. In-Class Essays<br />Not intended for revision<br />If given during semester, comments can be applied to future writing<br />Mark a few errors<br />Main focus should be on summary at the end<br />
  14. 14. Use of Shorthand<br />Create shorthand you are comfortable with<br />Give students a “key” for shorthand and encourage them to use it<br />On first essay (at least) devote class time to questions about instructor comments<br />Saves time and frustration later (for student and instructor!)<br />Encourages students to approach instructor with questions<br />
  15. 15. Summarizing Comments<br />Gives students a clear, concise assessment of writing<br />Keeps students from being overwhelmed<br />Improves student performance on rewrites and future assignments<br />Encourages students to think for themselves<br />
  16. 16. Next Steps<br />Sets up expectations of students for the future<br />Lays out expectations in a clear and understandable way<br />Keeps things simple<br />Limit Next Steps to 3 or 4: Gives students focus and reassurance<br />
  17. 17. Explaining Your System<br />Explain where students can expect to find certain types of comments<br />Explain function of comments<br />Explain your shorthand (and give them a reference guide)<br />Walk them through using a rubric—and have them assess their own writing!<br />
  18. 18. Importance of Praise<br />Writing scares students: 4 out of 5 students are not “proficient” writers—and most know it<br />Feedback has a profound and lasting effect on students<br />It is not about reassuring or “false praise.” <br />It is important always to find something good about an essay<br />
  19. 19. Praise<br />Some suggestions for essays with “nothing good” about them<br />Topic choice<br />Level of effort<br />Accomplishment in relation to difficulty of task<br />Improvement relative to previous writing<br />Accomplishment or improvement in one particular area<br />Praise of student behavior in class (e.g. “Based on your insight in class discussion, I know you can offer more information about this topic.”)<br />Improvement from prewriting to final draft<br />
  20. 20. Being Constructive in Critique<br />Show you are engaged in your students’ writing, that it interests you<br />Make comments specific to what you read<br />Make note of a detail that is new to you, interesting, or relatable<br />Ask questions (rather than stating needed changes) to encourage thought <br />
  21. 21. Being Constructive in Critique<br />Negative/Unhelpful<br />Positive/Helpful<br />Give more information<br />Thesis missing<br />?<br />Good<br />Why do you think she says that?<br />What is the main idea/purpose of your essay?<br />I’m not sure I understand the point you’re making here. Can you elaborate or rephrase?<br />Good use of transitions/ Nice conclusion paragraph<br />
  22. 22. Helpful Reminders<br />Write the due date of the revision on the essay.<br />Refer them to specific lecture dates or chapters in the text<br />Encourage in writing them to come to you with questions<br />Be consistent in feedback<br />
  23. 23. Rubrics<br />Good for general responses—saves you from writing the same comment over and over<br />Can be general or tailored to a specific assignment<br />Help students understand grading policy<br />Great for formative assessment<br />Do not have to be used to grade<br />
  24. 24. Rubric Formulation<br />Length and detail should be in line with the assignment<br />Major or lengthy assignments may merit longer, more detailed rubrics<br />Shorter, simpler assignments should not have complex rubrics <br /><ul><li>Each element that will be assessed should be included on the rubric</li></ul>Language<br />High to low or low to high?<br />
  25. 25. Effective Use of Rubrics<br />Should be handed out with the assignment to set up expectations<br />Students need to be taught how to read and understand them<br />Should not be too long or detailed<br />Should be used in conjunction with comments<br />
  26. 26. Sample Rubric<br />
  27. 27. Sample Rubric<br />
  28. 28. Sample Scary Rubric<br />
  29. 29. Sample Scary Rubrics<br />
  30. 30. Grammar!<br />Focus grammar comments on one or two patterns of error<br />Comment on “higher order” grammar issues first<br />Fragments<br />Run-ons<br />Subject-verb agreement<br />No need to point out every spelling error—note that there are many and suggest running spell check<br />
  31. 31. Grammar!<br />If teaching grammar, give more weight to mistakes in lessons already covered<br />If you don’t know specific grammar terminology, write the correct version over a couple of errors and refer students to grammar websites for help<br />OWL at Purdue (owl.english.purdue.edu)<br />Blue Book of Grammar (grammarbook.com)<br />Grammar Girl (grammar.quickanddirtytips.com)<br />Grammar Bytes (chompchomp.com)<br />
  32. 32. Myths about Commenting<br />Red pens <br />Are not scary <br />Lots of ink in any color is scary<br />Praise sandwich<br />Students will recognize it<br />Once they see the pattern, they doubt your sincerity<br />
  33. 33. Thank you!<br />Elizabeth Nesius<br />enesius@pccc.edu<br />973-684-6160<br />