My first assignment was to write a 500 - 750 word story based on one of three pictures. I wrote and wrote -- and rewrote and rewrote -- my story.. Finally, I had a finished product that satisfied me, but fell short of thrilling me. I wasn't sure exactly what about the story didn't sit right with me, but I knew there was something.
Lucky for me, I teach a room full of ideal readers (10 year olds) that could help me out by reading my story and giving me their feedback. Problem solved!
In our classroom, we provide writing feedback using the TAG method:
Tell something you like
Ask a question
Give a suggestion
When a student finishes a piece of writing, they find someone to "TAG" it. Reader feedback can be so valuable to a writer, and we have spent a lot of time learning how to give meaningful feedback that can help the writer make revisions. (In other words "I like it" and "This was good" are not helpful.)
So on Friday, it was my turn to have my writing tagged by 20 readers.
It was the best move I could have made.
My students worked in partners to pour over my writing. They knew how important this course was to me and asking them to participate in making it a successful experience was a job they took very seriously.
But sharing my writing and asking my students for help did more than just help me improve my writing.
It empowered my students.
A win-win for all of us.