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Jul 26
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On Commenting (and Sprouts)

Feedback from your peers is a critical part of the writing and editing process. 

​Commenting on others’ work helps you focus on what you notice about a piece of writing. With practice, you learn how to express what you notice in a way that’s well received. When you receive comments from a peer who has taken the time to read with understanding and inquiry, you’ll appreciate their thoughts and suggestions.
Peer to peer feedback strengthens critical thinking, the ability to take criticism and to view one’s own work in a more objective way and to make good revisions.
Robust and regular commenting also helps students build community and try harder. You and your peers will learn about and gain appreciation for one another.
Concepts: Good commenting takes time; don’t be discouraged. Keep your focus on commenting; nudge rather than issue edicts.
The stages:

  • Affirmation (I read it, I liked it, I wish to acknowledge it)
  • Affirmation with Observation and Question (I read it, I noticed this and I wondered about this)
  • Affirmation with Suggestion (I read it, I noticed some things and had these thoughts for improvement)
  • Affirmation with Sprout (I read it, it made me think of my own experience, opinion, viewpoint and so I SPROUT a connected story.)

With your teacher and fellow classmates, set the rules of good commenting as a group. Here are some guidelines about commenting that have been devised by other students with whom YWP has worked:

  • Positive, supportive observations and questions about the piece just read
  • Avoid ‘throwaway’ language such as ‘amazing,’ ‘you’re such a great writer’
  • Avoid passing judgment, good or bad
  • Avoid commenting on spelling, grammar and punctuation; these ‘gotchas’ don’t add much
  • It’s the classroom’s responsibility to make sure everyone gets a comment
  • Authors need to acknowledge – respond to – comments left on their posts

About Sprouts: This is a feature that all of YWP's platforms have. It is derived from normal storytelling behavior: Someone tells a story and that triggers the listener to think of a story that is connected in some way. Same holds true with reading; a student reads a post and it makes her/him think of a connected story, opinion, experience, argument. Sprouts are a great way to respond to a post – Wow, that made me think of another story! And it can go on from there, sprout after sprout!

(Photo credit: Meghan Smith)