Writing Workshops are valuable tools in helping students become comfortable writing. Including peer feedback helps make the experience richer by providing the writer information about ways to make their writing stronger. It should be a safe place for students to meet, share stories and evaluate their writings.
When peers provide feedback on story content, use of active verbs, using a variety of transitions, and other skills, the writer can then make changes before moving to the final editing and publishing stages with their stories.
It’s important to begin any peer assessment with the positives: What the feedback student enjoyed about the story, what went well, how the story affected the listener, how interesting details were used in the story, did the main character solve his/her own problem and did the story feel complete. Possible opening discussion might begin…”I like the way you described the main character when …” or “I like the action words and the descriptions you used.”
Next, the student giving feedback may make suggestions on how to improve the story (add details, write a variety of sentences, look for ways to add sensory details, check for complete thoughts, does it have a beginning a middle and an ending?) Possible suggestions might be. “I think your story would be stronger if you tried …” or “Look at the story and find a way to write a stronger ending.”
Peer feedback should come before any adult feedback is given. It’s a great intermediate step before final edits are made.