For Teachers: Peer Writing Workshop

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There are many ways that teachers organize peer reviews during class time. You might consider having groups of four read drafts for homework and come to class prepared to discuss their feedback. You might have peers read each others' drafts during class and discuss strengths and weaknesses. You might also do several smaller rounds of peer review, during class, in which students pass papers to the left and read one section of the essay and give feedback on one specific thing. Regardless of your peer review format, the below questions can help focus and direct students' attention to the most important aspects of the paper. 



Before reading your peer’s paper, ask them:

  • What is your focus in this paper? What are you trying to argue?

While reading:

  • Underline any moments where you see the writer articulating their focus.

After reading:

  • Discuss how the writer enacts their focus:
  • Does the thesis capture the richest version of their focus and argument?
  • Does the whole paper connect to and develop their argument and focus?

Is the focus effectively explained and supported with evidence? 


Look at a paragraph from the body of your peer’s paper and discuss the following:

  • Does the writer introduce and set-up evidence in a way that allows readers to understand it?
  • Does the writer provide enough evidence from the text?
  • Does the writer clearly explain the evidence and why it’s important?
  • Does the evidence support and help prove their larger claim? How might the writer make the relationship between the claim and the evidence more explicit?


After reading your peer’s whole essay, discuss:

  • Does each paragraph build off of the last in a logical and intentional way?
  • Does the writer use transitions to move to new ideas?
  • Are paragraphs organized and cohesive? Do they maintain a mini-focus?
  • Does the Intro set up a focused topic and purpose?
  • Does the Conclusion offer both a summary of the argument as well as an explanation of why this work might be valuable to others?

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