Writing a Crime Report of Homer Barron’s Murder, Day 3 of 3

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SWBAT defend their interpretation of the story by engaging in discussion with classmates and receiving feedback on their working argument following instructions of specific things to look for.

Big Idea

A peer editing session with students not used to providing constructive feedback is more successful when they have concrete things to look for.


Students have been writing a crime report for the murder of Homer Barron, the character in Faulkner’s short story “A Rose For Emily.” In the previous lesson, students worked on a draft of their conclusion. Today we spend more time on the conclusion, as I explain in this video.


Students already have a draft of their conclusion, which they finished for homework the night before. Today, I want students to improve on their conclusion by editing their claims and receiving feedback. 




5 minutes

I let students know they are going to evaluate each other’s conclusion. Because students finished a draft of the conclusion at home, I have not had a chance to see what they claim Miss Emily’s motive was. I want to hear some of their claims. I ask them to review their conclusion and identify claim that identifies the motive and share it with me. Three students share the following:

            Based on the evidence, it seems likely that Miss Emily killed Homer Barron.

            It is believed that Miss Emily committed the crime out of being in isolation from the outsideworld.

According to the evidence against Miss Emily, it is clear that she committed murdercaused by obsession.

These sentences are in need of modification. The first one is not making a claim. The second one needs to be stated as a claim that the student believes himself and the student also needs to rethink the motive he identified. The third states a more credible motive but it needs some rewording. I hope that they are able to point out these areas of need and help each other improve them during the feedback session.

I ask students to pair up. Students will trade papers with their partner. I let them know they are getting about 5 minutes to read their partner’s conclusion and make note of what they want to suggest. I give students a copy of this chart we have used several times in class, which has suggested comments they can make to each other. I also instruct students to pay special attention to the following:


Language: specific words used to describe the motive and the interpretation of evidence

Evidence: does it support the stated motive?

Interpretation: does the student understand the story and the character? Did he/she miss           something or misinterpret something?



Students Give Each Other Feedback, Round 1

15 minutes

I give students about 5 minutes to read their partner’s paper and figure out what they are going to comment on. I then give students 5 minutes to discuss the first paper and 5 five minutes to discuss the second one. During this time, I walk around and listen in their conversation and redirect as needed.


Students Give Each Other Feedback, Round 2

15 minutes

I instruct students to turn to another partner and swap papers. I give them 5 minutes to read the paper and decide what they will comment on. Like in the first round, I give each student 5 minutes to discuss one paper.

Students Edit Their Draft

20 minutes

I give students the last minutes of class to edit their draft of the conclusion on this murder. They can finish for homework and turn it in the next class period. The deadline is two days from now so they have tonight and tomorrow night to work on a final draft.