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Dear Mr. OíConnor,

I teach middle school (grades 7 and 8) English at a private, independent college prep school, and Iím hoping you can provide me with suggestions on how I can structure the assignment of drafts to maximize learning and participation through revision. My goal is to have students turn in papers in a timely manner at least twice (preferably three times) for revision and editing after receiving my feedback.

My dilemma: if I have no penalty for late papers, few students turn them in on the due date, making it a struggle to teach/supervise in class peer review times and I cannot give students timely feedback on progress learning/applying a new skill.

If I have penalties for late papers, and I hold steadfast to them, I receive nearly all first drafts but what is turned in (typed) is more like a free write, devoid of much of the most basic of punctuation, capitalization and spelling corrections in addition to content issues that would have been caught had these students read over these drafts prior to turning them in.
Iíve even tried only allowing revisions if students turn their papers in on time. This seems to be the least effective approach as only the motivated students grow as writers.
Do you have any suggestions?

Rachel Peters


To quote an article from Ed. Leadership a few years ago I think you have to be a "warm
demander." You have to have safe, comfortable, trusting learning environment in your
classroom but you also have to demand quality work from your students. If it is important
assessment evidence it is essential that it be done (well) and it is better late than not being
done so the appropriate consequence for not doing quality work is that has to be redone
and the consequence for not doing 'work' in a timely manner is 'time for time' - the
requirement to attend support sessions before school, at lunch time, after school or in a
support period in the timetable (whatever works in your school).

I also suggest that you look into the 'poweroficu.'

I hope this helps.