According to Pennington Publishing, effective writing feedback is:
- Specific, not general
- Immediate, not postponed
- Routine with revision / feedback cycle
- The right amount
- Targeted to the most critical issues
- Varied (written, audio, and video comments)
- Holding students accountable
As you can see, feedback and back-and-forth work between a student and teacher can greatly benefit a student if it is done well. That is what we do in this course.
How It Works
While we only meet once a week for 15 minutes, the cost of this class includes continued communication between learner and teacher as learners edit and revise their essays. After students have had instruction on how to write an effective essay, they still need to practice writing them for a teacher who will give feedback on their progress. In our live meeting, students will get an essay prompt or can use their own work they’re doing in another class. We will discuss the prompt, how to stay focused on the prompt, and how to go through the process of writing the essay. The instructor offers specific ways learners can build skills, whether we offer a writing guide, a video lesson, a graphic organizer, or link to a Khan Academy lesson, our goal is to improve the writing of our students. When students finish their essays, they will submit a Google Document link in the classroom. The instructor will read the essay and give feedback both on what was done well and what needs more work. Students may revise and send it back for more feedback. This continues until the next live meeting. Students can choose to work on one essay each week, or they can work on the same essay for multiple weeks.
What if the Students Needs a lot of Support
If students need explicit and regular instruction on HOW to write an essay, they should take “Foundations of Essay Writing” or “Middle School Language Arts (Semester 1): Essentials of Reading and Writing.” They can also take the self-paced essay-writing class “Essay Essentials.” If they are working on argument writing, “Assert! Claim! Reason! the Art of Argument Writing” will be important. All four of those classes are rich with explicit instruction, modeling, and feedback on how to write an essay. This class is not focused on instruction; rather, we remind students about what they have learned and will remind them of concepts and how to implement and modify the strategies they have learned. If we think a student would benefit more from a longer, focused writing course, we will let you know.
The ongoing schedule will be learner-directed and dictated by the essay prompt that they choose.