5 Ways to Help Kids Give Constructive Feedback
On February 6, 2017 | 0 Comments

Learning to give and receive feedback is an important part of growing as a writer. Anyone can learn to give constructive feedback!

Here are some tips to get started:

1. Specify the type of feedback.

There are many different types of feedback. Students may comment on grammar, punctuation or spelling, or they may offer big picture ideas about the characters or story.

It’s difficult to receive feedback when it comes in a form you’re not expecting (especially if it’s an area you haven’t worked on yet). Make sure both the writer and the reviewer know what kind of feedback is expected.

2. Offer sentence starters

Help your students frame their feedback with sentence starters. Here are some suggestions to draw from:

Positive Feedback Sentence Starters

  • This is quality work because…
  • Your thinking shows…
  • Two things you really did well are…
  • When explaining you…
  • Thank you for…
  • I like the way you ….
  • You chose great words here ….
  • You have no problem at all with …
  • You made a strong argument here…

Constructive Feedback Sentence Starters

  • The next step might be …
  • I wish….
  • Your writing tells me…
  • One thing to improve on…
  • You need more…
  • You need less…
  • You might try…
  • One point that was not clear to me was…
  • The argument would be stronger if …
  • Another way to do it would be …
  • What if you said it like this …

3. Two stars and a wish.

Too often, when we’re sharing our ideas and suggestions, we skip directly to what we don’t like. This activity helps students offer well rounded feedback by saying two things they liked (stars) followed by one thing they didn’t like (wish).

4. Be descriptive.

Constructive feedback is descriptive feedback. If your students liked something, they should try to explain why. If something didn’t work for them, saying why may help the author fix the problem more readily.

5. Review in groups.

If your students struggle with providing only the requested type of feedback, try putting them in groups, and assign each person a different job. For example, one reviewer might focus on punctuation, while others focus on story or spelling.

Developing Skill

Novice reviewers can practice these ideas on books they read in class or at home. As writers and readers gain experience, encourage students to help each other.

The ability to give and receive constructive feedback is a skill that will serve young writers throughout their lives.

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