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In a November post on the twowritingteachers blog titled, “All because We Shared Our Stories” Dana Murphy discusses the value of feedback in motivating writers.  As students have started responding to classmate’s blog posts, I am learning that they need direction about how to give feedback to each other.

A few years ago my friend and co-blogger on this blog, Jamie Riley, shared how she used stars and wishes when teaching students to respond to each other.  At the time she was in the classroom and used this approach when students shared work with the class.  Students had to come up with 3 things that they liked about the presentation (stars) before they could make suggestions (wishes).  Since then I’ve successfully used this method when I share student projects with the classes on the Smartboard in the Media Center.

I started thinking that this might work for online written responses/ comments on the blog and wiki, as well.  There are 3 Rules:

1. Students must write all comments as stars or wishes. The result is that responses are much more thoughtful. Instead of a student typing  “cool,”  the quality and appropriateness of the response improves.

2.  Students need to give a star first, then a wish.  This make the responses feel more like support than criticism.

3.   The star or wish has to be something new. This way we don’t have 3 other students saying the same thing.

We have just started using this process, but I am beginning to see how givings  guidance as they respond to each other will help them work collaboratively on future projects.

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