Posts Tagged ‘drafts’

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Paper Two: Possibilities and Problems

posted: 3.24.11 by Barclay Barrios

In a previous post I examined a student paper from the assignment sequence shared in an earlier post as a way to discuss commenting with an eye for promising moments. I think it might be useful to look at a sample of more solid student work, one that also  shows what can go wrong in an assignment.

To refresh your memory, you may want to look at the initial post with the accompanying assignment. And here is the revised version of this paper submitted for a grade . I’ve kept only my end comments in order to share my overall impression of the work.

Kedgeree’s paper is a good example of what students can do with these types of assignments. It represents some of the key skills we try to teach in our writing program: an ability to make an argument, to support it by working with quotations and ideas from the texts, and to do so with an organization that makes sense. It’s not perfect, of course, but it shows a good foundation in these skills.

The other reason I think Kedgeree’s paper is so useful for this blog, though, is that it points out a problem inherent in the assignment. Many of my students formulated arguments that sounded very, very close to the one Appiah makes in his essay. Only after reading through the set of papers did I realize that it was the assignment and not the students that had a problem. I didn’t do a good enough job presenting it so that students could take a position without standing right where Appiah is standing. The lesson? I need to revise just as much as my students do.

How do you handle it when an assignment goes awry?

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Categories: Emerging
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Promising Moments: Putting It Together

posted: 3.2.11 by Barclay Barrios

This week I wanted to provide you with a full and concrete example of how I focus on promising moments in my comments. Parkin’s rough draft is in response to an assignment I posted about earlier. For clarity’s sake, I’ve focused on my work identifying what is really promising about the draft and what needs work. I’ve condensed my marginal comments so that you can see them in action as well as see how those comments relate to my end comments.

Parkin’s revised draft shows how well she was able to revise her work based on my comments. The end comments reinforce her progress, while pointing to areas that still need work.

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Categories: Emerging
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Promising Moments, Part I

posted: 2.23.11 by Barclay Barrios

One of the keys to effective commenting is locating the most promising moments of any student paper, those bits where the student is starting to pull it all together even if it’s not quite there yet.  By identifying those moments for students, I can help them see exactly where they need to focus their work—starting with what they’re already done, thinking about what it needed to be more successful, and then incorporating that insight into their next paper.

Take, for example, some of the comments I made on the first set of rough drafts I received last semester, in response to this assignment.  For this first paper, many of my students struggled with argument. That’s not surprising, really, since it’s not something they’re expected manage well until the end of the semester. But given this particular weakness of the class, I sought out promising moments in several student papers.

I start by making a marginal comment about the promising moment:

OK. Here you have the start of an interesting idea because you’re thinking about the relationship between immigration, value of rituals, and change. You could develop this into an argument.

I then reinforce the point in my end comment:

I’m not sure I see your argument, so that’s where you really need to focus your revision.  I’ve pointed to a couple of places where you have some interesting ideas.  You could start from these places to form a clear argument but, ultimately, without that clear argument your paper is really at risk.  So work on that argument and then make sure each paragraph supports it.

[read more]

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Categories: Emerging, Teaching Advice
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Selling the Value of Revision

posted: 12.3.10 by archived

I have used many technologies to comment on student drafts—green or purple (never red!) pen on paper essays, the comment feature in MS Word, Google docs—but my primary goal is always to open students’ eyes to possibilities for revision. I want them to experience the perseverance of trying to say, clearly and vividly, what you mean to say; the joy of deliberating over words like colors from a paint box, or moving sections of an essay the way you would play with building blocks; the sense of comfort that writing is not finished until you declare it final. But how do I go about teaching this? Surely not by grabbing the pen out of a student’s hand to “fix” his or her writing? I tell my students that words should drip off their pens like sand, that writers don’t work in concrete. But it’s a hard sell.

When I hear my students say, “I’m done. It’s finished. I said what I want to say,” I wonder about the sources of their intractability. Part of it is boredom, no doubt, with topics they don’t care about (maybe because they didn’t spend time enough at the invention stage, or because assignments boxed them in too tightly). For some, the demands of busy lives or old-fashioned laziness may be factors. But there’s also the sense, for many, that they only need concern themselves with “fixing errors,” that correct spelling and mechanics are the chief goal in writing. [read more]

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Categories: Holly Pappas, Proofreading/Editing, Revising
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Video Response to Student Writing: The Greatest Love of All?

posted: 11.8.10 by archived

Isn’t it interesting that, while we ask our students to develop flexibility as they write across literacies, genres, and media, we rarely alter our own style of teaching? So much of what we do is pretty standard and predictable, not to mention print based. The feedback we provide on student papers is the perfect example of our overreliance on print, I think. We write and write and write—in the margins, on the backs of pages, in memos. And maybe, just maybe, some of it gets read.

untitled4So I’ve tried to shake things up and offer students the option of receiving traditional written comments on papers, getting audio feedback, or simply coming to meet with me for direct conversational feedback. For audio feedback, I used to record comments on an old Fisher-Price, battery-powered tape recorder. Since students don’t have tape decks anymore, I can do the same thing easily via MP3s.

My friend Jeff Sommers has collected lots of great advice, research, and even feedback examples on his site devoted to this practice, A Heterotopic Space. Jeff does a good job presenting the reasons audio feedback is effective.

For me, talking through my comments allows me to feel that I can better control the tone of my feedback through my voice, I can better connect with students, and also personalize the process. And it’s important to me to give students a choice, because I think it recognizes that we all learn differently. [read more]

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Categories: Assessment, Jay Dolmage, Teaching with Technology
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Using Sequences in Your Classroom

posted: 10.13.10 by Barclay Barrios

This post is part of a continuing series on building a course around the textbook Emerging. For previous posts in the series, see here.

Generally speaking, you will only be able to complete one sequence of assignments in the course of a semester. You may want to select a sequence based on the readings, the theme, or current events in the world.

All of the sequences included in Emerging have four to six assignments, which represent the minimum and maximum requirements for our writing courses at FAU.  Four assignments allow for more revision; six assignments provide constant practice with writing.

Given the demands of your program, you may want to adapt your selected sequence, adding or removing assignments as needed.

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Categories: Emerging, Writing Process
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Introduction to Sequencing

posted: 10.6.10 by Barclay Barrios

This post is part one of a continuing series on building a course around the textbook Emerging. This series will continue through December.

Sequencing is a key feature of our pedagogy here at Florida Atlantic University. By sequencing, we mean that the assignments of the semester build on each other, often by developing a common theme. Thus, while the first paper focuses only on the first reading, subsequent assignments work with multiple readings, continually returning to previous essays.

We believe that using a sequenced approach to writing assignments emphasizes process-centered strategies for writing, since students return not only to their drafts but to the ideas and texts on which those drafts are based, encouraging them to revise not simply words but positions, ideas, and thinking.  Sequencing also shows students how ideas reverberate across readings and disciplines, providing them with a more complete model of how knowledge is created and circulated both inside and outside the academy.

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Categories: Basic Writing, Emerging, Teaching Advice, Writing Process
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Visual Peer Review

posted: 3.28.08 by Barclay Barrios

Bring in a pile of different-colored highlighters for peer review.  You can have students use these to visually identify elements of a draft.  For example, students might highlight summary in one color and analysis in another or they might highlight the quotations.  With this strategy students can see at a glance what they’re doing in their drafts.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Document Design, Peer Review, Revising
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Colorful Quotation Marks

posted: 12.3.07 by Barclay Barrios

Students often forget to use single quotation marks for quotations within quotations. Have students search for quotation marks using their word processor. Ask them to find the first one and change the font color for that quotation mark to green; then have them find the next one and change it to red. As students repeat this process, alternating green and red, they build a visual record of where quotations start and end. They can then review their drafts to make sure they didn’t unintentionally end a quotation by failing to use a single quotation mark.

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Categories: Integrating sources, Proofreading/Editing, Punctuation & Mechanics
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From HOCs to LOCs

posted: 10.8.07 by Barclay Barrios

Help students see the relationship between Higher Order Concerns and Lower Order Concerns but directly connecting the two. Students should identify key sentences in their drafts that reflect their intentions in terms of audience, purpose, argument, development, and transition.

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Categories: Argument, Assignment Idea, Drafting
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