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Getting Write to It: Leveraging Feedback to Develop Authentic Voices

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Wednesday, June 26, 9:00–10:00 am
Location: Room 125

Dena Glynn   Evan Grant  
Helping students develop their voices is more important than ever – and it often starts by motivating better reflection and feedback. Learn how these 4th/5th and 6th-8th grade teachers get students to connect with topics they care about and use scaffolding and feedback to encourage thoughtful revision.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: G Suite for Education account (Google email address) for login to the tools used in this session.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Communication and collaboration
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Language arts, Social studies
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
Empowered Learner
  • Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
Global Collaborator
  • Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Our students are different from generations, and even years ago. How can we, as educators, tap into and craft their writing abilities? We are competing with YouTube, Snapchat, and the like. These different students call for different measures. Enter a twist to revision and feedback. Long gone are the days of an audience of “one,” the teacher, or passing around their papers for peers to read. In comes a manner to connect with this generation around those important to them and develop a deeper ability to share their voice in the world.

In this session, participants will meet two educators (a former team!) who teach writing and how they use scaffolding, authentic feedback, and student-selected topics to motivate writers and build student voice.

The session will highlight collaborative online tools and teaching strategies. These strategies leverage student feedback and benefit both the writer and the reviewer. Each teacher will talk about a mix of instructional strategies and/or tools, and share real-world student examples. Attendees will leave the session with practical tools to integrate into their classroom during their writing block.

Attendees will gain a deeper awareness in:
+ How to help students give and receive worthwhile feedback.
+ Strategies to help all students gain and improve writing skills.
+ How to teach students to write to specific prompts.
+ Tools to facilitate timely and specific feedback
+ Ways to add student voice to their writing in a natural way
+ Scaffolding methods to integrate for students learning English or in special education.


1. Introduction of the topic and challenges in providing better and more timely feedback. [2 mins]

2. Capturing, through a back channel, participants current struggles with teaching writing/speaking/listening skills. [5 mins]

3. Discuss the current research-based elements to successful writing instruction and how these can be enhanced by the integration of technology. [5 mins]

4. Tool One [12 mins]
+ Video tool to exchange and discuss student writing (Flipgrid)
+ Explanation and practical classroom application of tool.
+ Real World student vignettes: elementary and middle school student (before and after)
+ Hands-on - “we do”

5. Tool Two [12 mins]
+ Online platform giving student feedback to writing with anonymous peer review (Writable).
+ Explanation and practical classroom application of tool.
+ Real World Student vignettes: elementary and middle school student (before and after).
+ Hands on - “we do”

6. Tool Three [12 mins]
+ Online platform for keeping portfolios of student writing and allowing for voice feedback (Seesaw).
+ Explanation and practical classroom application of tool.
+ Real world student vignettes: elementary, and possible middle school student.
+ Hands on - “we do”

7. Conclusion, next steps and input regarding tools they will start with from participants. [5 mins]

Supporting research

According to the Education Trust study on assignment quality in language arts (2016), only 9% of assignments ask students to write more than a paragraph of text before they graduate from high school. Yet writing is cited as one of the most important 21st century skills for the workplace, according to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Starting in higher elementary and moving into secondary grade levels, teachers must balance motivating students with relevant topics and “voice & choice”, all while supporting students as they practice different structures of writing with increasing rigor. Content knowledge doesn’t happen without ongoing, scaffolded practice. Per Hovardas and Ross, …”students develop a clearer conception of the assessed material because of increased exposure to it.”

Graham and Perin (“Writing next”, 2007) note the some of strongest influences in writing achievement include: 1) Strategies that explicitly teach “planning, revising, and editing”, and 2) Goals that are assigned to students and are reachable during the broader writing process, including revision.

There is also a set of research from teachers and researchers, such as Carmen E. Sanchez, Steve Graham, Dolores Perin, Karl Wiggins, Gregory J. Cizek, John Hattie, and Helen Timperley, who suggest that the feedback students receive must be goal-referenced, tangible and transparent, actionable, user-friendly, timely, ongoing, and consistent in order to contribute to their growth as writers. Specific to peer review, Sanchez and her colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 33 articles that evaluated the effects of self- and peer-grading in 3rd through 12th grade classrooms, finding that the “studies demonstrated that both self- and peer- grading positively affected subsequent achievement performance” (Sanchez, 2017).

More [+]


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Dena Glynn, Poway Unified
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Evan Grant, Tumalo Community School

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