Do you want to give your students feedback in this upcoming school year that dramatically improves their writing? If so, read on. Teachers often prepare for giving feedback by looking at student writing. A typical protocol tends to look like this:
- What do you notice about this student’s writing?
- What are next steps?
Although both of those steps are needed, what is missing from this protocol is teacher curiosity. If you want your feedback to be even more successful, I would suggest adding a step in between and revising the 2nd step. I would suggest this protocol instead:
- What do you notice about this students writing?
- What are you curious about? What questions do you want to ask the writer?
- What are possible next steps?
This new step is important because often what you ask students will help you figure out what to teach them. You still want to come with possible next steps, (Step 3) but you want to be flexible enough so that what a student says guides what you teach.
For example, last year I was looking at piece of writing with a group of teachers and a student had written a sentence that said, “One day there was a fire in my house and everyone was thrilled.” We were all very curious about why everyone was thrilled so we asked the student why when we met with her. We discovered that everyone was thrilled that the fire didn’t spread to all of the rooms in the house. Her answer led us to teach her the importance of ‘because sentences’. She revised her piece to explain why everyone was thrilled. Adding this new step to our protocol enabled us to ask authentic questions, which in the end improved the writing and taught the writer something new.
I would love to hear your thoughts about this writing protocol in the comments below. What questions or concerns do you have about studying writing in this way?
If you would like to learn more details about how you can incorporate this tip in your classroom, I would be happy to chat for a few minutes with a free 15-minute consultation! Just fill out the form on or shoot me an email