Reading and writing reflect one another. So, after seeing how successful our book walks have been this year, I wondered what would happen if we had a writing walk.
Half of the class sat with their writer’s workshop notebooks, while the other class rotated around the room. Each student spent five minutes reading a certain peer’s writing. At three minutes, I told the rotating students they had two minutes left to finish reading and leave feedback.
For feedback, the critiquers wrote one I like sticky and one I wonder sticky. The I like sticky was an aspect that the critiquer felt the writer had done well. The I wonder sticky was an aspect that the critiquer felt the writer could do better.
When the five-minute timer sounded, the critiquers handed their sticky notes to the writers. The writers placed the sticky notes into a T-chart in their writer’s workshop notebooks to be able to refer to later.
While the students rotated, I also rotated around the room with a specific student and gave each writer two sticky notes. When we were done with the activity, I realized that I should have also been keeping a messy sheet to note my observations. Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan taught me about messy sheets. Here’s one I wish I would have had as I rotated around to each student’s writing:
If I had the messy sheet with me while I rotated through, I could have marked each person down in one area after I wrote my sticky note. As I type this, I’m realizing that I can look in each writer’s notebook and add students to each area based on the sticky notes I wrote. Still, it would have been much more efficient to have the messy sheet with me as I rotated through each station.
This week students are typing their drafts and one dashed over to me to show me how he had used the feedback to revise his writing. Here’s how the conversation went down:
“Look what I did! One of my critiquers wanted to know who Brandon was. So, I added all this information to my sticky note, and now I’m typing it in.” At the time, I couldn’t delve into what he was saying because I was in between conferences.
But today, I had some time to look at his before and after. When I talked about his revision today he told me that he’d also received feedback that he needed more action. A part of his writing excerpt is below. It’s unedited. So, there are lots of errors. The underlined portion is the information he added as a result of his feedback.
Derek was 10 years old and was no ordinary fourth grader. It was five minutes before the school bell rang derek was already halfway out the door. He was excited for his big soccer game.“ring.” in the blink of an eye derek dashed down the hall before he knew it he was already at the stairs then at the bottom of the stairs. The doors outside were visible to him. But it quickly changed. A small recognizable figure standing in front of the door it's Brandon. He slowed down and tried to hide but Brandon saw him clearly and started towards Derek then closer but brandon stopped and slowly backed up mr. A was walking by and saw the whole thing from the beginning. Brandon saw Mr. A, too, which explains why Brandon backed off derek thought. It was not like mr. A to not know what was going on, he knew and was writing it down on a sticky note. After Mr. A handed Brandon the note and told him to give it to his mom.
“Ugh’’Brandon sighed but on his way out Brandon whispered “you got lucky but tomorrow you won't be so lucky. Soon the stampede of kids to get on the bus.
Considering often times students think revising consists of adding punctuation and capitalization, I'm pretty pleased to see how much work this student did. There’s definitely more action, and now we know Brandon is the antagonist. More importantly, the student was excited to revise and could see the difference between his writing before the writing walk and after the writing walk. Of course, there’s definitely plenty more to critique. Maybe it’s time to take another walk!
Chalk and Ink
Chalk and Ink is a biweekly podcast that publishes on Fridays throughout the school year. Learn how teachers who write and writers who teach combine craft moves to create outstanding products for their students and readers. Download Chalk and Ink wherever you get your favorite podcasts.