Students have been working on their final writing assignment, which is to write an original speech/talk. These are the directions for the final speech/talk. In the previous lesson, students worked to improve the central points of their speech/talk. Today, they will be sharing them with a peer for evaluation. Some have already started drafting, but most are not far into this step. Many have only gotten as far as writing their outline.
Students know that they are going to be sharing their ideas with a peer today. I ask them to highlight the 3 central points they have been working on. I tell them this will make it easier for a peer to find them. Those who only have an outline are wondering if they can participate in this. The answer is yes. They can highlight the 3 central points right on their outline. They are only asked to evaluate the quality of these three points today. I give them a few seconds to pair up, which simply requires them to make sure the classmate sitting next to them has something to share. Once they are paired up, I give them directions.
Their job is to read each other’s central points and to evaluate them and be ready to give their partner valuable feedback. I have two sets of guidelines posted for students. One set is the one I gave them in the previous lesson:
*use precise, powerful language
I derived the second set from this first set by creating a simple thumbs-up-thumbs-down system. I post this thumbs-up/thumbs-down visual on another board. This thumbs-up/thumbs-down system lists the specific qualities I want students to look for today.
I alternate between boards to explain how I want them to evaluate the three central points today. The first three bullets in the first set of guidelines are addressed in the first two bullets of both the thumbs-up and thumbs-down list. The last point on each thumbs-up and thumbs-down list addresses the guideline to acknowledge counterclaims and I spend a bit more time with this one because we have not discussed it as much as the others.
Before they engage in the evaluation of each other’s central points using this thumbs-up/thumbs-down system. For this, I have selected some sample points from the ones that have been drafted already and added them to this power point. I display one sentence at a time and ask students to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down and to provide a reason from the given list. They are doing this in collaboration. Students sit in small groups of four. I give each group a small white board and dry-erase crayon. We follow these steps: I display one sentence, I give students a minute to discuss whether this sentence gets a thumbs up or down and to write it on the board with a reason, I ask students to lift up their board so we can see the responses, I display whether I gave it a thumbs up or down and the reason. The use of the small boards is to ensure that all students participate. It is also a good time to check for understanding. A general consensus lets me know students are able to identify the stronger and weaker statements and that they are using the guidelines.
Students are now ready to evaluate each other’s points.
I ask students to take a few minutes to read their partner’s central points and to decide if they qualify for a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down and to provide a reason. I let them know they will also get time to share their feedback orally. Students work for a few minutes in silence. They begin to talk soon after.
This is a student’s outline with three central points highlighted, Her partner gave her first two points a cross, meaning a thumbs-down. I agree. These points qualify as obvious. The third point got a check, meaning a thumbs-up. I also agree. It is not the strongest point but the words circled are promising. I actually use these words to help this student develop this point into something that may prompt a clear thumbs-up. I am hoping that these are the types of comments this students received in this feedback session.
I give students the rest of the period to work on their draft. I also invite them to get help from me as needed. I sit at my desk and say, “If you need help, come on over.” They need the time to work in silence on their draft, but a few come over and get one-on-one help.
I tell students to make sure they work on their draft tonight.