School Sports Writer's Club

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Students will work in small groups to edit and provide constructive feedback for one another in order to improve the quality of their position essays.

Big Idea

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Anticipatory Set

5 minutes

Writer's Club is something that I have tried in a variety of ways. In it's most formal format, students are expected to bring their writing to the club and have a couple of questions already in mind for the other club members to respond to. In it's least formal, students simply provide feedback as they see fit.

For today's Writer's Club, I ask the students to take five minutes to think about their own essay and the areas they would most like help from their peers to improve. These will not be the only things that the group members can or will give feedback on, but will be the focal points, the starting points. This process has proven to be invaluable! (For information as to why I feel this way, check out Why I Love This Process)

Rotations - Guided Practice

45 minutes

The students then take their essay, with the questions/focus areas planned, and move into their assigned groups. I try to mix the groups to include one of the following combinations:

high/low middle 

high middle/low

I plan for each group to have four members, but there may be some groups that only have 3. The groups with only 3 members will end up with one rotation that they can utilize as needed. Perhaps one person was still receiving feedback when we rotated, or maybe a member of the group came up with a new idea or question. Regardless, the time is there. 

During the group, each student is expected to share the focus areas and/or questions with the group and then read his or her essay aloud to their group. As they read, the group members take special note of phrases, ideas, sections that they have feedback for. Once the reader finishes, the group members take turns providing feedback, using the notes they each took. This feedback should include a response to the question(s)/focus area(s) addressed by the reader, and provide pluses and deltas with specific suggestions for revision. In all, each rotation has 10 minutes, with a little over a minute planned for transition between readings.

This works best when each student brings enough extra copies of the essay for their peers to write on. This allows for the other members of the group to write the feedback directly where it belongs. This also helps in  the instances where the group members don't have enough time for each member to provide complete feedback. At least, then, the reader would be able to read the feedback and ask for clarification as needed on their own time outside of class. 

I have attached a student copy of the essay from this day here: Sports Essay - Gillian

Do you think you know what areas she asked her team to focus their feedback on primarily?