Caution: Freebie for My Followers ahead!
But what does all of this mean if we don't have a conversation with them about essay commenting?
Absolutely nothing. Our students need to be involved in the commenting process. Sommers suggests to create a class manifesto.
Bouncing off of that idea, I have my students create a Mini-Class Manifesto on Commenting with a small group. They collaborate with 4 peers to create 4 general guidelines for paper commenting. That means they need to boil it down to the 4 most important elements to a successful essay. This is hard work!
(to get your hands on this bad boy, see the directions down below!)
Not only that, but they need to give a full description of what that guideline entails. So instead of suggesting we comment on organization, they have to be explicit with what makes a good organization or why organization is important to an essay. Furthermore, their Mini-Class Manifesto on Commenting has to include sample comments representing these guidelines. So what would a helpful comment on organization look like to them?
Once they have finished creating this Manifesto on Commenting, they then need to try it out! Let them experience what it is like to comment on an essay with certain expectations. Then have a discussion about it.
What didn't work? Why?
What comments kept popping into their heads that didn't fit their criteria?
In general, this exercise is very beneficial to the students. They get a first-hand look at the grading process. Even better, they give you insight into what's most important to them!
-> Like my Facebook page and you'll see a tab on the top (or side) that says "Freebie Grab Bag!" (If you don't, it's either because you haven't liked the page or you'll find it under "More"). Click the Freebie Grab Bag tab and you'll be rerouted to free content just for my followers!