As preparation for our writer's memo and essay submission, I ask students to compile all their essay materials into one stapled packet. They need:
1. (top) a blank sheet of lined paper
2. the final draft of the essay
3. rough draft two
4. rough draft one
Compiling all needed elements now saves time when we begin our reflection, and requesting a specific order of elements makes it easy for me to follow their progression when I assess the essays.
For students who are missing elements, I ask for a note. On the top of their blank sheet (soon to be the writer's memo), they must list missing elements and the date they will bring the elements to me, thus encouraging student accountability.
I ask students to complete a writer's memo, reminding them that the writer's memo is a dialogue between us (teacher and students), a different purpose than we normally have. This is their chance to tell me how they feel about their essay. What was easy? What wasn't? What still needs work? This is also a chance to reflect on how well they completed the writing process. Was the outline helpful? Did they take revision seriously? If not, why? Was it the quality of the feedback?
I gather information that will help me improve the writing process for my whole class through this process, but more importantly, I know what type of feedback my students most want.
I take the last 10 minutes to call students up alphabetically to submit their essays. While this takes class time, it holds students accountable. They must either submit their essay or give me the exact date they will submit it with a reason why it is late. I enter this information immediately into our online grading system, so both parents and I can see the student's status.
The good news is that most essays are on time and interesting: