Suggested course level
Upper and lower level undergraduate courses
- Students will help each other ensure that their assignment meets the criteria in the rubric and learn how to read a rubric.
- Students will also practice giving constructive criticism that is concrete and specific.
- Drafts of student assignments
- Copies of the assignment rubric
- This assignment is designed to help students become more concrete and specific in their peer workshopping and develop a better understanding of how to read an assignment prompt. Often, students feel tempted to say “this assignment is great!” instead of offering feedback during a workshop, or they don’t feel confident enough in their own writing to give their thoughts. Many students are also from cultures where saving face is important and they do not want to offend their partner. Instead, this activity positions the student workshopper as a partner who’s speaking on behalf of the teacher.
- To begin, have students work in small groups to look at the rubric and come up with the 3 most important features of the assignment based on the rubric. (“When I am grading your assignment, what are the 3 most important things that I’m looking for?”)
- Write each group’s answers on the board and, as a class, come up with 3 outcomes to focus on during the workshop.
- Turn these outcomes into questions and see if the class can make them even more specific. For example, if they’ve identified source use as important, the question might become “How has the writer used sources? Underline every time they’ve used a source, and put a star around places where the writer hasn’t cited yet.”
- Then, break students into partners or groups of 3 and have them exchange drafts.
- Each student will read their partner’s draft and answer the 3 questions the class came up with.
- They will then write a short paragraph on topic “What would the teacher say about this draft?” and share that with the writer. I always add the question “What would the teacher admire about this draft?”
- After students have shared their findings with each other, they will do a short freewrite on the topic “What changes do I want to make to my draft and why?”
Debrief questions / activities
- What was the experience of giving feedback like for you?
- What was the experience of receiving feedback like for you?
- What remaining questions do you have about the assignment?
Tags: oral presentations, oral communication, audience analysis / context analysis, negative news messages, writing mechanics, grammar, style, tone, concision, research and documentation, critical thinking, discussion, hands-on, small group, self-reflection, peer workshop, revision