Before and After and the Power of Peers

Let’s call him John. John is a second grader. He’s gentle and kind and he loves to laugh. John doesn’t move fast, unless he is on the playground. John has lots of ideas, but he sometimes has a hard time organizing his thoughts and writing them down. John’s handwriting is hard to read.  He recently wrote a letter about how much he loves Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He shared it with a classmate. We will call her Kate. Kate listened as John struggled to reread his writing. Kate studied what John had written, and she couldn’t read it either. “John,” she said, “Maybe you could try to write a little neater so that we can read your letter.” And just like that, he did. He rewrote his letter and it was readable. It was gorgeous. John beamed at the results. Kate complimented him. John’s teacher went crazy with excitement. You see, his teacher, and I, and just about everyone who knows John, has been gently reminding him for months to put space between his words, to form his letters carefully, to try to stay on the lines. Kate got it done in under 60 seconds. Never underestimate the power of peer feedback. Yay for second graders. Yay for John. John by the way is as proud as a peacock. He has big plans for pretty much everything he writes from here forward.

8 thoughts on “Before and After and the Power of Peers

  1. This is exactly why I work so hard to teach feedback to my students! Bravo, Kate, for offering a doable suggestion that was truly about improving the piece, and bravo John for being open to advice from Kate!


  2. I love this, Lisa. The power of peers is never to be underestimated. I saw it so often in writing groups. What each said to each other came back in revision. Sounds as if Kate said her words very diplomatically, & got a wonderful thing done.


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