Peer Critiquing a Book Review

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SWBAT peer critique one another effectively in an effort to improve the book review.

Big Idea

peer critiquing is an important social skill as well as an important writing developmental skill

Introduction and Context

10 minutes

So far in the course students have completed two specific "lessons" for peer-critquing -- one regimented and prescriptive and the other more free-form.  For peer-critiquing the Memory Narrative I provided (and demanded) specific questions and had students -- literally -- "fill in the boxes."  For peer-critiquing The Editorial, I simply provided a set of questions and "hoped" that students answered all of them.  They did not, leaving some of the more sophisticated questions unanswered.  So ... for this iteration of peer-critiquing, I will return to the method I first utilized (i.e. "fill in the boxes").  Students will follow these instructions, and each paper will be (hopefully) improved!

I’ve created a Google Doc table that each student uses for his/her critique of a fellow student.  First, I make sure students are sitting with a randomly assigned partner, then I have everyone download my Google Doc critiquing table and complete the instructions to set-up for critiquing.

Also, I have attached the set of questions I ask for each of the three peer-critqued essays for the course.  If the Google Doc table is too cumbersome or you would like to take a less restrictively structured approach then you may just want to utilize my question set alone.  There's a .pdf in the resources section.

Getting Down to Business: Critiquing One Another

35 minutes

Once each student has a copy of his/her own sheet established, then I make certain the pairs have shared their drafts with one another via Drive sharing.  Then, as the instructions state on the critiquing table, I have each student cut-n-paste his/her partner’s draft Review into box I.  On the left side of the critique table, students will provide answers to 13 specific questions.  They will respond in the corresponding, numbered rectangle inside box II.  (I hope this is apparent from the directions on the original critique table, but I have provided an instructional video in the resources.)

As to the specific critique questions, I’ve turned to the McGraw-Hill Guide for Writing for College, Writing for Life (3rd ed.), new this fall from McGraw-Hill.  In this college comp. textbook, the editors ask students to answer these 13 questions when critiquing personal writing from their classmates.

So, simply put, after they have their tables organized and ready, they type answers to the question sets (from McGraw-Hill), one set of answers per rectangle.  Before they begin, read aloud from the question set and make certain there are no needed clarifications.  About half-way through their work, and when you are certain they understand what they are to do, ask students to share their doc with the “writer” that is the “critiquer” shares to the writer.

Ample Time to Finish

10 minutes

Depending on how long it takes the class to read and comment on the first few question clusters, you will be able to gauge the length of time for this activity.  On the first day, I had 20 - 21 in each section of my three classes finish in about 35 min.  I did provide about 10 “free” minutes on the following day to make certain everyone had completed the question set.  It’s important for the final revision that everyone have rich enough feedback from partners!