Yesterday, we ended with a writer's workshop, and today the focus will be to allow students to give each other feedback using turnitin.com's Peer Mark, which is an electronic method of marking up each other's papers. In the past, I have used google docs for this, but the range of affordances of turnitin.com have brought my attention to using it for this purpose.
However, before we begin this peer mark session, it's important to quickly assess the students on their progress from the previous day and on the homework, so I plan in a quick writer's workshop here again.
The purpose of the writer's workshop is to allow students the chance to progress with their writing at their own paces. During this differentiated session, it is my goal to interface with 12-14 students, roughly half of the class, while my class t.a., a senior from my high school, will help by interfacing with 8 or so of the students.
We have several goals:
1.) To identify students who may need to have extra support outside of class (i.e in study hall or before/after school).
2.) To monitor the student progress with writing argument, making sure that there is both evidence and extended elaboration on each piece of textual evidence.
3.) To help students to set goals for homework so that they can complete additional writing and complete a solid 5-paragraph essay on time.
Again, the teaching of argument writing here and throughout my unit was influenced heavily by my mentor and teacher, George Hillocks (2011) and by my work with Project READi: PROJECT READI is a multidisciplinary, multi-institution collaboration aimed at research and development to improve complex comprehension of multiple forms of text in literature, history and science. READI is a project supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305F100007 to University of Illinois at Chicago. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.
Students will mark grammar and content on each other's papers. I have spent a lot of time in class building strong, cooperative teams, and this lesson hinges on that type of interdependence being in place. Otherwise, this peer mark can be some what of a thin experience. I am expecting success, and be looking for reciprocity and engagement across student teams as they do this work.
Revising essays is a key step in the writing process (W9-10.5). When we give students the chance to read and to comment on each other's writing, they gain the addition of reading other models, of working through some of the criteria for improvement, and engaging in some scaffolding-in-progress.
Again, we will have some time to continue to draft papers. I am busy at work reading, advising, interfacing with individuals and conducting my own formative assessment of the students' work. I am looking for evidence of strong interpretation (RL9-10.3) of character motives as well as strong argumentation (W9-10.1). There is a reciprocal relationship between these two ways of expressing meaning, and I am hoping that the students will be able to marshal what they have learned from our oral classroom discourse, what they know about the architecture of argument, and finally apply the proper amount of task persistence to get the paper completed in a quality manner.