Strategies for Responding to Student Writing & Stimulating Discussion
Responding to Student Writing
- Have several students read responses aloud; respond with a comment, then resume discussion.
- Have several students read questions; ask class members to answer them. Collect responses, skim them and write one brief comment before handing them back at the next class session. Collect responses, read them, and plan or adjust the next class session based on them.
- Have students share or compare their summaries, outlines or responses to class material with another student or group of students.
- Have students write questions based on the day's material; then have students exchange questions and answer them for each other. Collect summaries and questions and develop exam questions or formal assignments based on them.
Strategies for Stimulating Discussion
- Have students make lists of potential discussion questions or topics to use during class.
- Have students write down several words of special importance to the day's assignment; then have them free-write on one of the words for several minutes. The free-writing can be used as a basis for small group work or whole class discussion. Pause during class presentation to ask students to write a brief summary, pose a question, project where the class presentation will go next, or draw a diagram of the material being presented.
- Have students respond in writing to an intriguing quotation on the board.
- Have students imagine or create a dialogue between two people central to the day's material.
- Have students do mapping and clustering exercises on the day's most significant concepts.
- Have students record connections between their class work and the real world.
- Have students explore their feelings about a moral or ethical issue.
Diane Boehm, Writing Center Director Emeritus, Saginaw Valley State University