Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Praise before critisize

I have graded my fair share of essays this year. I don't particularly care to know how many I have read and marked up because it may lead to tears.  I do know that grading essays can bring forth an array of emotions. Ranging from wanting to hug a student because their essay is pure amazingness and then the other end of ripping an essay up because it is garbage. I have experienced extreme highs and bottomless lows this year all thanks to grading essays. 

I know for my students the act of picking up a pencil, thinking and putting words on a page takes effort. Writing in general is not easy plus there are risks involved. Generating original thought on a piece of paper and awaiting judgement from your reader is ten times more nerve raking than taking a fill in the bubble test. 

In order to build momentum with student's writing as well as encourage them, praise must come before criticism. No student wants to be handed an essay that is filled with errors that needs to be corrected. I feel that it is necessary to recognize students for a job well done before I dissect every word they put in their essay.  Even if it is thanking them for writing legible, find some small part of their work that deserves praise before the cloud of criticism rains down. 
There have been students that have kept the positive post-it-notes that they have received in their writing folder since the beginning of the year; while the criticizing notes have some how disappeared!

Truth moment
It's not always easy to find the positive over the negative in an essay. I am guilty of writing over a student's essay "START OVER AGAIN!"
not my proudest moment

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