- Two copies of a 2-3 page handwritten draft of the Literacy
- To introduce, discuss, and practice peer workshopping.
- To begin to acclimate your students to small-group work.
- Exchange drafts with one other person and workshop his/her
essay, using the criteria we generated in class. Bring two copies
of your workshop guide; one for the person you critiqued and
one for the instructor to evaluate. Remember: be as complete
as you can and give specific suggestions for improving any problem
areas you see.
- Copies of sample literacy narrative for class critique, one
copy on transparencies.
- An overhead pen
- Workshopping Daily on overhead (or on your "Y" drive
for a computer classroom).
- Group work prompt on overhead or "Y" Drive.
- As students come in, have the following Daily writing prompt
on an overhead. Direct everyone to start working on the prompt
as soon as they're settled.
A peer review workshop involves exchanging drafts with classmates and
commenting on how the drafts could be improved. Have you ever
participated in a peer review workshop before? If so, in what setting?
What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of peer review?
If you have not participated in peer review before, what questions
and/or concerns do you have about it?
Let students write for about the first five minutes of class or
until everyone's finished (whichever comes first).
- Introduce the idea of workshopping by putting students' responses
about the potential positive and negative points about workshopping
on a two-column chart on the board (let the two columns take up
about a third of your board space). Ask your students about ways
that they can counteract each of the potential negative points
while keeping the good ones. Record that list on the remaining
board space. If you like, you can have a student write down the
ensuing list of ideas so you can reproduce the sheet for the next
class as the official class policy on workshopping. (10 minutes
max--this usually goes quite quickly)
- Announce that you're going to have your students practice
workshopping a sample essay before they try it on their own for
next time. Put the following group prompt on an overhead or your
- Break into groups of 3 or 4.
- Elect a group leader, someone to watch the time, and someone
to report to the rest of the class.
- As a group, write out how a Literacy Essay should ideally
function in terms of the four writing elements: What is its purpose?
Who is its audience? What should the primary focus be? What
constitutes adequate development for this essay? What constitutes
- EVERYONE in the group should write down these criteria. You'll
use them for the essay you critique for next time.
- Then, read the sample essay and write down how the group feels
the sample functions in terms of each criterion. Which ones does
it meet now and which ones could it improve upon? Note one suggestion
for each weakness you find.
- You have 18 minutes.
- As the groups work, circulate among them, listening to the
responses and giving nudges where appropriate. Try to keep the
groups moving so they finish within 20 minutes, but give an extra
five if necessary. (20-25 minutes)
- Have each group report on the strengths and weaknesses they
found and record the responses on the board as they go. If you
feel pressed for time, start with the first group, and have the
subsequent groups add to or disagree with the previous ones.
- Finally, explain to students that the criteria they generated
in their groups will function as their workshop guide for the
essay. Have everyone exchange essays before they leave.