This lesson is an opportunity for students to discuss what they like best in reviews and decide which one to run. Students will share unsigned versions of their reviews with classmates, provide feedback on other students’ reviews and turn in final copies of the reviews the next day.
- Students will evaluate the writing of other students.
- Students will revise their reviews.
Common Core State Standards
|Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
|Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
Copies of reviews (without student names)
1. Explain assignment — 5 minutes
Divide students into groups of 4-5. Once they are arranged in groups, explain that they are to pretend they are the review board of the student publication and need to decide which reviews to run. They will read groups of stories and make comments on them (initialing their comments). Students should look for papers that are well reasoned and researched and that the audience will find interesting. Once they have all read each review, they will choose one review from that group as the best. When they are finished reading all of the groups’ papers, they will choose one top review from all the groups.
Do take a moment to set some ground rules and explain that while the reviews are anonymous at the moment, they are still the products of their classmates and to keep comments fair and respectful. Also mention that it is better to make specific comments than general ones, and the goal is to comment on content more than grammar. Find an excerpt to read and discuss as a group as a way to model the type of feedback students should provide in their written comments.
2. Read in groups — 45 minutes
Have each group put their papers in one pile, then pass their piles to the next group clockwise. There is a good chance that students can figure out who wrote about half the papers from helping friends or discussing things in class, and that’s okay — the goal is to focus more on the writing than the writer, and having no name can help.
Once students get started, provide a limited amount of time to read the stories; this assignment can take too long without monitoring. Students should read the reviews individually and when all group members have read them, they discuss the ones in that group and reach a consensus about which is best. When each group has decided, or when the time is up, have them pass the papers again clockwise and repeat until they have read each group’s papers except for their own.
Before they return the last group’s papers, ask students to take a few minutes to decide on the best one. (Once students get their own papers, they will want to read comments.)
Gather the results sheets and tally the votes. Assign one point to each review chosen at all and another point if it is a group’s top paper. The class will share and discuss the results the following day.
1. Share results — 20 minutes
Reveal the top three reviews in the class and have the writers (or volunteers) read them aloud. Ask students what they liked about each, and discuss what made those reviews effective.
Then invite discussion about overall strengths they noticed when reading the class set of reviews. Comments may include praise for interesting topics, humor, good details, exciting writing, to-the-point writing.
Finally, encourage discussion (without naming specifics) about common weak areas that appeared in more than a few reviews. What were they? Responses may mention boring topics, bad spelling/grammar, boring writing.
3. Final revisions — 30 minutes
Provide time for students to make one last round of revisions in their reviews after getting feedback. They will submit their final drafts at the end of class.