The Absolutely True Adventures of a School Librarian

The Absolutely True Adventures of a School Librarian

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Who Really Learns From the RED PEN?



I am the daughter of English teachers.  I watched them as night after night they made student's papers bleed, folded the papers in half and wrote the grade on the outside.  Personally, when I received these types of papers back from my teachers I never even looked inside at the corrections, suggestions and notes my teacher had spent hours making.  I saw my grade and that was that.  So my question is this.  Who really learns from the RED PEN?

In a perfect world teachers would have time to sit down one on one with students to discuss their writing and allow time for revising, editing & rewriting with continuous feedback from the teacher before the final grading process.  But my experience as a child of English teachers and as an educator for 23 years is that we (educators) rarely go beyond the pre-writing/rough draft phase with our students; assigning grades to first drafts.  Our time is limited and a new writing prompt is in the pacing guide for the following week. There simply isn't time to go through the entire writing process: PreWriting, Drafting,  Revising & Editing, ReWriting, & Publishing. 

The 3rd grade teachers at Elkmont High School recently decided that they needed to spend more time assisting students with the writing processes and not rushing to the next writing prompt as the skills in each writing prompt role back around and are repeated in multiple content areas.

Using the MacBook Airs provided to each 3rd grade student via the Digital Passport Initiative and the Google add-on, Kaizena, 3rd grade teachers will provide students with a type of one on one conferencing that will have students making corrections rather than the teacher's red pen making the corrections.

So how will this work you might be wondering.  First, the teacher will send out the writing prompt to students via Google Classroom.  Students access the prompt via Google Classroom and will type their rough drafts.  The teacher will use the Google add-on, Kaizena, to provide students with recorded feedback on their writings as if the student was sitting next to them for a one on one conference.  Once all the writings have received feedback, the teacher will instruct students to put on their headphones, listen to the feedback and make the suggested corrections.  This process may need to be repeated.  Finally, student writings will be published to an authentic audience in a variety of ways including our 3rd grade blog, ebooks, comic strip makers, etc.

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