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Using a Speed Dating Protocol to Think Critically about Writing

Tenth-graders in Monet Cooper's English class at Capital City Public Charter School in Washington, DC, engage in a speed-dating critique protocol. They spend ten minutes in pairs, offering each other specific feedback on a high-stakes writing assignment, before moving on to another partner for another round of critique.


- [Monet] So just the same way you all noted on the rubric ..

- [Narrator] In Monet Cooper’s tenth grade English class students are going to use a protocol called speed dating to give each other specific feedback on a high stakes writing assignment.

- So today my tenth grade English students are speed dating each other. What this means is that they’re spending about ten minutes in pairs looking at each others work, writing critical feedback but also verbally giving that critical feedback to each other. Actually two student exemplars. I want you to go back to the two articles and I want you to evaluate them based on the content and development criteria. It’s really important before we go over the speed date even though we’ve done it before for them to know what I’m looking for. By going through the rubric piece by piece really fine tuning those specific criteria they’re able to understand what exactly they need to go back and revise.

- They used quotes and they reveal the strengths and flaws of their subjects but they didn’t really do flashbacks and they have a few personal stories.

- Yeah.

- So I put it like maybe a 2.5.

- Okay, can you talk about why you scored, what you scored and what was the score.

- Well, we scored it a one because it has quotes but it has no statistics or flashbacks.

- Alright, Carla, can you score the other one?

- I think like a 3.5. It has quotes. You could tell who it’s about and what the person does.

- If you’re scoring somebody just on them having quotes then according to the rubric that’s incorrect. It’s the quality of the quotes.

- [Narrator] With a sharper eye toward the rubric criteria students began the speed dating critique rounds. Each round lasted approximately 13 minutes and focused on one specific category of the writing rubric.

- Alright, you all may begin. I give the student pairs three to five minutes to read the work of their peers. Then they have five minutes to give critical feedback. Then they have three minutes to actually give that verbal feedback based on what they’ve written. The students use a sheet called the editor’s feedback form and the purpose of the sheet is for me to see if they’re able to meet the learning target of moving through the writing process, of giving each other very specific feedback using the rubric as a support. For students, it’s for them to be able to quickly look at what specifically needs to be addressed in your profile article.

- So for you I gave a 3.7 because you guys had lots of facts. You had one statics, but like I don’t think you guys are using a lot of facts. You just state statistics that worked with like the injustice she’s working with, it’s mainly ..

- So I gave yours a 2.5 because you needed to have some statistics from your research and I put in a comment where I think that ... I noticed something in the bad example that I saw in Dominic’s work was that he put himself into his article so one of the suggestions that I gave him was to take out the questions that he had asked and also take himself out. I think it’s good to have lots of different people read your articles and give you feedback. Like some people only see grammar mistakes, some people only see spelling mistakes and there are some people who look for like the deep down things like you need more quotes or you need more information.

- I gave your lead a 3.5. It caught my attention because of the fact you said “It’s not every day you get a chance to help people” and that...

- When my colleagues and I talk about deeper learning. We talk about critical thinking and it’s so important for our students to be critical thinkers across the curriculum. This is what speed dating really allows them to practice. I want them to know that professional journalists actually revise. They re-interview, the make mistakes, they ask their colleagues to take a look at their work and they go back and they do it all over again in order to make it sparkle.

- Other than that it’s really good.

- It was deep.

- Thank you, I try.

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