This week, student wrote and revised their This I Wonder essays. I'd like to focus on the revision process--particularly my attempts at encouraging students to post blog comments on essay drafts.
At this point in the semester, some students have already established a consistent process of posting their own blog assignments while also responding to their classmates's blogs. From day one, I have encouraged students to respond to each other's work. For this major essay, however, I required students to respond to at least two other student drafts. I wanted to see if mandatory blog responses would increase the amount of student comments on each other's posts. To frame this informal inquiry, I asked students to form groups of three so they could both workshop their essays in class and respond to each other's drafts via their independent blog posts. In terms of group work, I tried two different approaches in my two sections. For my 8 am class, I asked students to submit to me a piece of paper with each group member's name. My 10:40 class also formed groups of three but they were not required to submit their names to me. I varied the requirements for the two sections because I wanted to review, informally, if the amount of student blog responses varied between those who submitted their names to me and those who did not. My findings? The results were negligible. In both sections, for the most part, students who routinely responded to classmates' posts continued that process for this assignment. The students who hadn't been consistent responders continued that trend as well. What does this say about prescribing informal writing assignments? I will have to reflect on that question--and I welcome reader responses.
Here I will write, revise, and reflect. Not always in that order.