Demonstrating Writing Group Strategies

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Last month, I shared a series of questions that can help with the process of Organizing Successful Writing Groups. Today, I want to share another resource that I’ve found that teaches students how to give one another feedback.


I love the video No One Writes Alone: Peer Review in the Classroom, A Guide For Students (6m 33s), which demonstrates how students collaborate and provide feedback on drafts for one another. I ask students to watch the video, paying attention to the kind of feedback people give and how the authors respond to the feedback. I had hoped that the video would provide enough modeling that students would be able to get beyond short, summative comments in their feedback to one another. I gave them the following instructions:


The online discussions that you have about your writing group should be much like the conversations that took place in the video. When you comment on someone else’s projects, you provide concrete details about what you see and what the writer can do to improve. When someone comments on your projects, remember to be open to suggestions and avoid becoming defensive.


Somehow, it wasn’t enough, so I have spent time in the last week looking for additional resources. I found a gem. Peer Review: Commenting Strategies (5m4s) from the University of Minnesota Writing Studies program demonstrates six concrete strategies for providing constructive and helpful feedback:


Video Link : 2048


While the MIT video gives students some overarching suggestions for what peer review looks like, this University of Minnesota video gives students very specific instructions. If students are unsure how to make constructive comments, after they spend five minutes watching this video, they’ll know exactly the kind of comments to share with the members of their writing groups.


How do you demonstrate constructive feedback strategies for your students? I am always eager to find more resources to share with my classes, so please leave me a comment below with your ideas.

About the Author
Traci Gardner, known as "tengrrl" on most networks, writes lesson plans, classroom resources, and professional development materials for English language arts and college composition teachers. She is the author of Designing Writing Assignments, a contributing editor to the NCTE INBOX Blog, and the editor of Engaging Media-Savvy Students Topical Resource Kit.