If you are looking for a collaborative peer review activity that gets students working together, analyzing student writing, and really thinking about what elements are required in a good paragraph, I’ve got just the activity for you: collaborative peer review with sticky note rubrics!
This activity piggybacks off of my short story collaborative paragraph, and it is the perfect way to extend that activity and have students analyze each other’s writing!
To get started with this activity, you will need first to complete the short story collaborative paragraph that I describe in this blog post. The collaborative paragraph typically takes about one 50-60 minute class period. If you are on a block schedule, you might be able to get to both of these activities on the same day. I’m not on a block schedule, so I completed these activities on two consecutive days in my classroom. And to be honest, this year, the collaborative paragraph took longer than one class period.
Once students complete the collaborative paragraph, you’ll need to ready your room by posting up the paragraph posters around the classroom. Ideally, you’ll tape them to the walls, whiteboards, and cabinets so that students have plenty of room to move around. I used the blue tape that is safe for classroom use to tape up the collaborative paragraphs. I also numbered each paragraph by using a Sharpie to write a number on the blue tape.
To prepare, you’ll also need to get the sticky notes ready. I had each group use one sticky note to conserve paper and to also encourage collaboration and discussion. On the sticky note, I printed a mini, check-list type rubric that had students evaluate key components of the paragraph: topic sentence, how the quote was introduced, the relevancy of the quote, and the explanation of the quote. Students then evaluate each paragraph element on a five-point scale, with five being the best and one signifying that the paragraph needed improvement.
For the activity, students formed groups of two or three. Each group shared a sticky note rubric for the peer evaluation. When students were done, they placed the sticky note on the backside of the poster so that the original authors could see what their feedback was. I instructed students to make sure they evaluated a paragraph that they didn’t write. They had to closely examine each rubric element to see if students followed the format and wrote it correctly. I only had students review one paragraph each. However, in hindsight, I think two to three paragraphs would be ideal for an hour-long class.
To extend this activity, you can always pass back the original paragraphs to their original groups and have students revise the work based on their peer feedback.