I’ve just started a Facebook page called The Writing Teacher. This morning, I posted about peer response groups. Here’s what I wrote.
Discussion plays an important role in the Writing Teacher’s classroom. It gives students a real audience for their writing, supports the development of ideas, helps students identify non-productive approaches to their writing, serves to refine arguments, and helps students discover new lines of inquiry/development. Sometimes a free form discussion is enough–but sometimes we need to structure discussion with specific goals in mind. Here are some strategies you could use to make sure that peer response sessions for writing are productive.
1) Make discussion time purposeful by identifying specific goals.
2) Help students be better listeners by having them take notes
3) Ask student reviewers to write 4-5 things they liked about the piece of writing
4) Ask student reviewers to write down 2-3 suggestions for the student writer
5) Suggest sentence starters to help students learn how to frame feedback
6) Time the sessions (sometimes)
7) Ask student writers to write down three important plans for their writing at the end of the session
8) Give students time to work with their writing immediately after the writing session.
9) Model how to analyze writing that is still in the development stage
10) Model how to give feedback.
Peer review sessions can be so helpful to student writers, but we need to help students learn to be good peer reviewers!