Moving Forward with Writing Groups

9 12 2009

During writing workshop, I have found that my students are not giving each other good feedback when they are sharing their work with each other.  I find that they are just sharing their writing pieces, and not taking time to hear other people’s pieces, give or ask for advice to improve their work.

In writing group meetings during writing workshop:

I have my students tell their listeners to: Bless, Address, or Press with their writing.

Bless means to say only positive comments about the piece.

Address means that the writer picks one or two things that he/she specifically want help on.

Press means that the writer is in the publishing stage so give him/her everything you’ve got to make it great. The writer also tells the listeners what specifically he/she needs help on.

Even though I have the students do bless, address, press- I think I need to revisit it and remind the students to move to the address or press step.

What we have done in writing groups so far:

  • At the beginning of the year, I had my students get into writing groups and gave them written pieces (written by published authors). I had the students mine for gold and share their thoughts.
  • I also gave each group a selection of poems to read through, mine for gold and then give the writer advice on what they would change and why.
  • Once we got to the students sharing their own work I had them start by saying positive feedback only, then having them move to press.

A possible solution I am going to try:

I am going to read my own work to the class,  and go through the critique process (bless-address-press) with the students so that they can see that even my writing is not perfect and go through many steps before becoming polished. I know that students love to read stuff that the teacher writes because it is so personal. I have found that Students are more willing to share, when the teacher “exposes” him/herself.




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