Commenting and Feedback

Between reading comments and giving comments here, continually working on those little boxes flooded with words on my thesis Google Doc, and continually giving students feedback on, well, pretty much every thing, I have been thinking a lot about feedback and commenting.

There are many aspects to feedback and commenting (for today’s piece, I am calling one in the same), and I thought I would make it personal — about how I like to give and receive feedback.

The kind of feedback I like

  1. Personal. I love it when my name is involved.
  2. Noting how hard I have worked. And, yes — even these little slice of lifes, I do work on them. I brood and think over them. So I really like a specific acknowledgement to time, putting it out there, etc.
  3. Specific, specific, specific! Something you liked or a feeling I gave you in my writing.
  4. A question or wondering or connection to your life.
  5. Anything you think I should do next.

The kind of feedback I like to give

  1. Use your name if I am confident on your name (students always!)
  2. I usually ask you how you are, note something funny or silly in your work, or just interesting.
  3. I leave YOU out of it; I make it about the work. For example, “the way this metaphor was used really gave me as reader a strong visual to match your experience. This helped me understand you.”
  4. Something I loved or thought was really interesting. I might quote a line, or a spot.
  5. Where I think you should go next — either revising, chunking, clarifying…
A sample of me working on the “bulk” of student feedback. Does anyone else do this with their students?

In the end, I want students to feel like I put just as much effort into reading and thinking about their work as they did in writing. Commenting is such a personal experience, and I wonder:

  1. What kind of feedback do you like?
  2. What is the feedback process for your students?

15 responses to “Commenting and Feedback”

  1. Big ups to feedback you like #3–just about the work, not any personal pronouns.

    I have to vary my feedback so that it’s on a decent loop. So for daily work, it looks like this: one day, check for doing the work; next day, letter to the class about group patterns & trends; day 3, “I like … I wonder… ” to everybody & no more; day 4 voice feedback recorded with Mote; day 5 or whatever, narrative individualized feedback focusing on pre-determined standards. Otherwise, the feedback loop is a beast & the students forget what they’ve done by the time I get back to them. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh! You just reminded me that I wanted students to take their piece of feedback from their last piece of writing, and apply it to their new piece — so writing it/posting it/recording it for themselves as they start their new writing…I meant to do that, and it you just reminded me! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The feedback loop ideas is brilliant!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Heidi! I love all your posts …. you’re one of the only blogs I subscribe to! I really like your precision of language, and in this one, you touch on something I’ve been thinking lots about in terms of feedback. What does student feedback look like? I like your metacognition of your own commenting too. I wonder what would happen if you shared this list with students? (see what I did there…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are too kind, Angela! I do see what you did there, and it’s genius. I will show them. I am also going to ask them what they think of feedback via Google Form tomorrow, too!


  3. Brian Rozinsky Avatar
    Brian Rozinsky

    The structure for this slice is effective, juxtaposing both the receiving and giving of feedback. I also like your use of ‘brood,’ Heidi, partly because I’ve been known to do the same over pieces of in-progress writing. Feedback that I tend to write to students sounds a lot like yours. I’ve dabbled in canned comments, as an attempt at time-saving, but they seem not to fit more often than they do, making my use of them scattershot. How do you find students receiving the feedback that you share with them using the features you enumerate above?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great question, Brian! I am going to ask them tomorrow via Google Form — I’ll see, and am curious what they say!


  4. Ooh – I love this post, too! I’m so glad you commented on mine today. 🙂 This is my 5th year of slicing & while there are many wonderful benefits, one of the things I really notice is how much this has changed the way I comment on student writing. I even blogged about it (my turn to share how we’re thinking in similar ways: ). These days, I give almost entirely positive comments. I love asking students questions like “What would happen if..?” or starting with “I notice that…” Sometimes I can even encourage them to challenge my thinking… HEY, WAIT A MINUTE! Now I have tomorrow’s blog post in mind. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a great list, Heidi!
    I appreciate anytime people can personally connect and/or give me specific writing feedback. Those things feed my soul!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really interesting to read what people prefer in feedback…and I am going to ask my students tomorrow in a Google Form – maybe that will be my next slice!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting to consider what feedback you like compared to what you like to give. Personally, I always like the comments about resonated with the reader. I do not want suggestions about how to fix it though!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. OMG, I love that many of us are talking about this and Amanda is soooo right! Belonging to this community has changed how I give feedback and comments on writing significantly and it is ever evolving. It’s serendipity that I wrote about feedback today tooooo!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Too funny! Going to read yours now!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. […] really evident today. So how can I continue this concept of workshop and process — like what I blogged about yesterday — into math class, too? It’s amazing how much more, almost instinctual and immediate […]


  9. […] these assignments. (I wrote about commenting on student work once here. More recently, Melanie and Heidi (and Joel in the comments), have addressed feedback in their posts.) If we just grade for grammar […]

    Liked by 1 person

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