A Personal Declaration Essay, Library Share and Submission

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Students will be able to give positive peer feedback by participating in a library share of their essays.

Big Idea

A library share celebration offers immediate positive feedback.

Do Now: Favorite Elements

5 minutes

While I take attendance, I ask students to star their favorite element in their essay. Do they have a concise claim? Extra-crushed counter-claim? Engaging evidence?

Their starred elements will be what we review for our library share.

Library Share

25 minutes

I introduce the library share as a way for students to get immediate positive feedback on their work (given that my assessment will take quite a bit of time) and as a way to see what is possible in persuasive writing, the variety of great arguments that have been made by their classmates. We will read the starred elements on each essay and leave a positive comment for the author. In order for the library share to run smoothly, special set-up is needed:

1. Students write their name on a fresh sheet of lined paper and number 1 to 10 down the side, leaving space for other students to write comments next to each number.

2. Students clear everything from desks except their essays, lined paper, and writing utensils to make it easier to navigate the room.

3. Rules are established: this is a library share, thus the room should be quiet. Students will move from essay to essay (which allows them to get some physical movement in, helping to avoid boredom), read the starred section, and leave a positive comment and their initials (which holds them accountable for their comments). We will run the library share until every essay has at least 10 comments, though in a longer class period, you can run the share until everyone has commented on every essay.

4. Everyone participates--even students who do not have their essays can offer feedback; it just means that students will have to double up as they read essays here and there.

Rules established, we begin. Students enjoy reading the arguments of their classmates, polished now from their rough draft threaded review.


15 minutes

For a major assignment like this summative essay, submission is more complicated than simply placing the work in the drop box. I collect each essay individually to avoid the "but I turned it in" argument between dishonest students, their parents, and me.

I have students line up alphabetically, whether or not they have the essay, and I pull up my gradebook. Students who have the essay are marked as complete in the gradebook immediately, to be replaced with actual scores after assessment. Students who do have their essays are marked as missing, and I enter an expected submission date in the comments section as a reminder for them and their parents. These students are also marked as incomplete for the entire marking period as a method of grabbing attention. These extra steps increase student accountability and, ultimately, submission rate.