Writing Commentary

Providing students with specific and timely feedback is extremely important in any subject. Why is feedback so important?

In order to grow, students need to know along the way what they are doing that they should continue doing and what next steps they need in order to get on the right track. They need this throughout their learning - not just at the beginning, and the end is TOO late! Ongoing feedback is what keeps their motors running and keeps them going on the correct path.

When do you have time to give feedback? This is something that I have had to play with along the way. I give feedback at different times of the day and not always at a scheduled time or day. As students enter the classroom and begin morning work is a great time. During class time when students are working on particular pieces of work. When students finish early. Any down time that you can find!!! I use rainy days to catch up, when needed.

In the past, I have given feedback orally and written - primarily oral, as I taught non-readers. Now that I will be in the upper grades, I want to have something tangible that students can refer back to, to help me know what I met with them about in the past, and to help us both see growth over time. I made this quick writing commentary sheet that I hope someone else will be able to use. I plan to have students place this in their Writer's Notebook (see sheet below).

The sheet focuses on the 6 Traits of writing, which will be one of the goals students will track. In addition, I have a place to mark which genre you comment on and an area for 2 stars (things they did well) and one next step (things to work on).

What type of comments do you give? I like to show them what they know and what they need to work on. What is MOST important is that you are SPECIFIC!

DO NOT: Great Job! Nice work! Keep it up! A+ 100%, etc... What does this tell them? Nothing.

Instead DO this:
You remembered to use a conjunction when combining your two sentences.
Thank you for using correct punctuation.
I see that you used commas in a series, but do you remember other times we need a comma?
Is there a tool you can use to help you choose chunkier words?

When giving feedback ALWAYS tell them something positive and something to work on.

Click image for FREE resource:

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1 comment:

  1. I downloaded and love it. I focus on the 6 Traits in my fifth grade classroom as well, so this form is perfect for me. Thanks so much.
    Creating Lifelong Learners