Reflection: Student Ownership Peer Response Workshop - Section 3: Closure


Today was the second formal session of peer response that my students have participated in this year, not including the peer exchange they performed with their one-page memoirs.

I have been experimenting with peer response since my teacher-time began, way back in the late 90s, and have made a concerted effort over the years to keep it relevant.  Having witnessed students in my early years more or less fake it, zipping through the questions like olympians anticipating medals for speed, I started approaching peer response with a renewed focus.

At one time, I used to conduct whole-group, sample peer response sessions with my students before introducing the procedure for the first time.  Using a sample piece of writing, I would display it from the document camera (ok, in reality it was an overhead projector back then) and give every student a copy of the peer response form they would be using in their upcoming peer response session.  We would then respond to the piece of writing together, addressing the tasks on the peer response form, allowing student volunteers to share their responses with the whole group as we worked through the process. In this manner, I was able to help coach and shape meaningful responses from my students.

I also learned to make the language of the peer response form echo the language that is used in the drafting stages of the writing itself.  For example, the peer response form for my students' rough drafts in this lesson includes the same language that appears on the drafting template that was used to get their writing started. Seeing familiar language helps build trust and faith in the process, and I believe allows students to buy into the idea that what they are doing is valuable.

Finally, when my students come to me for advice about their rough drafts, I have trained myself to ask them "What did your peers say in your workshop?" before I offer my input.  Modeling my own trust and faith in the process in turn builds a culture of students who, hopefully, begin to believe in it, too.

  The Power Of Peer Response
  Student Ownership: The Power Of Peer Response
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Peer Response Workshop

Unit 8: Of Mice and Men Part II
Lesson 7 of 9

Objective: SWBAT read the theme essay drafts of their peers and provide feedback, guided by the questions on a peer-response form.

Big Idea: Students let each other know if their essays pass the test.

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