To begin this unit, I have students set up a paper for Cornell Notes. However, instead of the left-hand column being labeled "questions," I will have them label it "roots." Using the PowerPoint slides, I have them fill out the Essential Question for the day.
I then go through the eight roots with them one-by-one.
Today is just for taking initial notes. Tomorrow, they will take notes on four more roots. Then, on the next two days, we will practice with some words containing the roots. The fifth day of the unit will be for a quick, formative quiz.
Once today's notes are complete, students will put this paper in their binder, and we can move on to the main focus of today's lesson.
To begin today's lesson, I had each student a copy of the Peer Feedback form. I have them put their name at the top, and I tell them that they are going to be using this rubric to evaluate a classmate's paper. This is the very same rubric that I will be using to assess their work at the end of the unit.
To get things started, I pose this question to the group, "Why do you think I'm having you read and score someone else's paper?"
I do this because I like to let them into my "teacher brain." I have always thought that students are much more receptive to a lesson or activity if they know why on Earth they're doing it and ultimately what's in it for them.
The types of responses I'm hoping to elicit are: we can help someone improve his or her writing and someone can help me improve my writing. What I bring to the table, though, is the idea that by using the rubric to look at someone else's work, you will then be able to look at your own work through an evaluator's eyes, making it possible for you to make your writing even more effective.
Once we have discussed this concept, we go through the rubric together. I give a really brief overview of what each category includes, and I draw their attention to the back of the rubric where they will be justifying their scores.
I then have them switch papers with someone, and the evaluation process begins.
Students then have the next 25 minutes or so to read and evaluate their partner's paper. I circulate while they are doing this to make sure everyone stays on task. Also, I like to slow down those "I'm done!" students and have them use examples from the paper and the rubric to really justify their scores. I encourage students to be tough and to really go back to the rubric to see if the score they're giving really reflects their classmate's paper.
I collect the peer evaluation sheets at the end of this class period. I want to give the student who completed the assignment credit for doing so, and I want to catch the ones who did not take it seriously.
I used to just have students hand the feedback to the author of the essay, but I have noticed that if the students know that you're going to collect and look at it before their classmate, they tend to take the work a bit more seriously. It seems to cut down on the "I didn't find anything wrong. Good job!" comments.
I will go through the papers and put a stamp or a star on them to acknowledge they were done on time.