Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Conversations Among  Writing Peers

Prepare for the Workshop

To prepare for this workshop, you will examine strategies you already use and read an article about peer conferencing.


What Do You Do?

Karen Smith, one of the experts featured in "Conversations Among Writing Peers," says that it is validating for student writers to have peers "listen with all their heart and soul."

Think about a time that another person — a peer or perhaps a teacher — read and evaluated your writing. Answer the following questions, jotting down your answers in your notebook:

  • How did you feel about the experience?
  • What, if anything, did the other person do that validated you as a writer?
  • Did it seem to you that this person was really "listening" to you? Why or why not?
  • What have you observed among student writers that might support Karen's idea that it is validating for students to have their peers listen to them?
  • How would you correlate this validation with students becoming better writers?

Think about your teaching practice, specifically about ways in which you provide opportunities for students to read their written work aloud, receive feedback, and make revisions based on peer responses. Then answer the following questions, jotting down your answers in your notebook:

  • Describe a lesson or practice you use when students either work together with a peer on a writing assignment or read their written work aloud and receive feedback.
  • What are benefits and challenges of peer responses?
  • What questions do you have about peer conferencing and response?

Examine the Literature

Print out the Examine the Literature Response Chart (PDF). Then read the article listed below, recording your ideas on the chart during and after reading. When you have finished, save your chart to submit as an assignment.

Peer Conferences: Strategies and Consequences (PDF)
This article examines the benefits of peer conferences and one educator's approach to teaching students to become effective peer conference partners.

Wilde, Jack. "Peer Conferences: Strategies and Consequences." This article was commissioned specifically for "Inside Writing Communities, Grades 3-5," 2007.

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