While providing students with an authentic audience for all of their writing is something with which I still struggle, I have been broadening my approaches to allowing students to share work with one another. What I’ve found is that asking students to move between the roles of writer and reader with their own work has drastically improved their work. Here are two quick techniques for creating an audience for students to share their work.
Satire-Off (Competitive Writing)
In this activity, students wrote mini-satires after a flipped lesson on satire made by Mister Sato. Then, they competed in a bracket to advance against other students; those students who have been eliminated from competition serve as the judges in each subsequent round. The competition was fierce! This activity, while based in writing, also required students to take on the role of listeners in order to describe which authors would progress, in line with the Common Core Standard for Speaking and Listening 11-12.3: Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
This activity, in which students constructed satire through writing, and evaluated satire as listeners, then transitioned into an analysis of satire in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, leading in to Common Core Standard for Literacy RL.11-12.6 where students: Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).
Read Around Groups
This strategy, as suggested by Kelly Gallagher in his book, Teaching Adolescent Writers, asks students to compete more informally. After removing their names from their papers, and replacing them with an identifying number, students circle up in groups of 3 or 4; each group passes their papers clockwise. As readers, students discuss and choose the best essay from each group. As a whole class, then, we read the top one or two essays, taking notes on what separates them from the rest, and using these to build our rubric.
Thus, students use their informal peer feedback, their perception of their peers’ essays, and our whole-class analysis of the exemplary essays to develop and strengthen writing as needed by… revising, editing, [and] focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience as asked by CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5.