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Writing Meaningful Narrative Comments

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Cara Horner

on 17 August 2017

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Transcript of Writing Meaningful Narrative Comments

Comments should be...
(eliminate "I" statements)
(provide a few examples and even an anecdote)
of the effort grade
(provide one or two actionable suggestions)

circumstances, it's best to:

- Stay
, but without sugarcoating.
- Keep
out of the comment - let the facts speak for themselves.
- Never sound like you've
given up
on a kid.
1-2 sentences about content/curriculum
1 general sentence about student performance
2+ specific sentences with concrete information, examples, and anecdotes
1-2 concluding, prescriptive sentences
Other Helpful Tips
A word about tone
Image by Tom Mooring
A possible format
Writing Meaningful Narrative Comments
Example 1
In the second interim, students in 8 Literature concluded their study of short fiction and began Harper Lee’s
To Kill a Mockingbird
, during which they will continue to develop skills in text annotation, student-led discussion, small group collaboration, and analytical essay writing.
John is a serious student who always puts forth his best effort.
He is thoughtful and vocal in class discussion and works well in small groups. John is most comfortable with rigid parameters: when he is told exactly what to do and how to do it. Thus, he is very successful when it comes to assignments like creating a chart to prove a character trait with textual evidence. When an assignment is less structured (for example, a recent essay prompt that allowed for choice of topic and a word count guideline instead of paragraph requirement), he tends to get worried and ask for more help than he really needs.

As the year progresses, John should try to view these less structured assignments as the real opportunities for growth and learning, and be more confident in his strong close reading and writing skills.

Example 2
In the second interim, students in 8 Language Arts continued their study of phrases and clauses and took a cumulative grammar assessment in early December. Because there were some lapses in comprehension, we will continue to reinforce some of those concepts before moving on to sentence structure.

This interim, Miley has done very well in certain areas of the curriculum and struggled in others.

Over the last few weeks, students wrote an admissions essay using a Common Application prompt of their choice and had their piece workshopped in class before embarking on a full revision. Miley's essay had a distinct, humorous voice that set it apart. She also embraced the writing process, completing several revisions based on workshop feedback. Miley struggles on grammar assessments, but is quite able to do homework and classwork when she has access to her notes and example sentences (she earned a 44 on the exam, but then on subsequent homework assignments on the same material, she earned a 96 and an 80).

In order to make her understanding of phrases and clauses more automatic, she will need to begin studying the material in small increments
night and come for extra help to reinforce her comprehension much more often. If Miley adopts these learning strategies, she should be able to master the grammar content by the end of the year.

Comments should avoid...
- Loaded words (for example, "potential")

- Sweeping judgments about the child

- Personal reactions (pride, disappointment), which encourage fixed mindsets and undermine self-motivation

- Being too general

- Being overly statistical

- Typos and grammatical errors

Getting started
: look at comments from previous years; find the "type"

Staying objective:
revise "I" statements AFTER you write them

: write what you wish you could say. Then tone it down :)

: read out loud to catch typos and errors.

Full transcript