Thursday, March 17, 2016

Writing Checklist and Peer Review

In my coaching with Michelle, I have focused on math writing.  Earlier in the year, I was focusing on conferring. Now, I feel like I have taken a step back to talk to her to decide on the purpose for my math writing.  I think about my next door neighbor, Ms. Schoneman, when I think about trying to figure out what the purpose is for math writing. If I can't figure that out for myself, how can I expect students to understand?  

A couple of weeks ago, my students and I came up with a list of elements that had to be in place in great math writing.  We realized that we had two lists: one about process, the other about the writing product.  We created an anchor chart and I transferred the list to a worksheet where students would be able to do all of their work on a story problem and have the checklist to refer to.  We worked with this worksheet as a guide for our writing and the students did pretty well with it, but at some point we lost steam, partly because I wasn't sure what the next logical step was.

Part of the routine we set in place includes time for peer review.  Students trade their papers and check off all the elements they see that are in place.  They give this feedback to their partner, then they have the chance to "call them out" to the whole group.  Then that person has the option to show us their work on the doc cam so we can identify everything they did well. The work then lives on the wall in the hall to display great math writing.

So, what's next?

--Communicate to students that this is something that we will do consistently every Tuesday and Thursday.  We can't spend this much time and energy on it and do it five days a week.  I think the predictability will help my students engage in this this process more quickly and meaningfully.
--Peer review routine.  Right now we do it in our meeting space with a partner, and it quickly became stale and lost its purpose.  Moving forward, I am going to come up with creative ways for them to find a new partner to share with eveyr time they write.  Without being purposeful about his part, students were pairing up with the same person day after day.
--Increase engagement.  I need to find opportunities to really highlight the great thinking that goes on.  In the past, they have given each other stickers, this sometimes devolved to students reviewing only the work of their friends.  Besides displaying the work in the hall, what else could I do?
--Integrate movement.  This group of kids need routine, but need to move!  I will integrate opportunities to get them off of the floor and moving while they review.  

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