Seven Tips to Better Comment Writing …because I couldn’t think of any more.
Top # 1 <ul><li>“Take the “I” out of your comments.” </li></ul><ul><li>This is about them, not necessarily what they can d...
<ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>“I’m pleased with the progress Johnny is making.” </li></ul><ul><li>…is better stated: ...
Tip #2 <ul><li>Take the emphasis off grades. Grades are feedback. They are also motivators, but we really want to play thi...
<ul><li>Example: Instead of… </li></ul><ul><li>“ With a little more effort he could have earned a B.” Better,  </li></ul><...
Tip #3 <ul><li>Don’t agree to have your picture taken. </li></ul>
Tip #3 <ul><li>Be specific. </li></ul><ul><li>It is nearly impossible for a struggling kid to know what “try harder” or “a...
Tip #4 <ul><li>Look for something to reinforce.  </li></ul><ul><li>Any behavior you’d like to see more of; anything a stud...
<ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>Johnny has started to </li></ul><ul><li>show more of an  </li></ul><ul><li>interest in ...
Tip #5 <ul><li>Look for something to refine. Improvement is possible for all.  </li></ul>
<ul><li>The talented student is the most neglected kid in this category. They get, “a pleasure to teach.” “A great kid.” <...
Tip #6 <ul><li>Remember your audience. If you’re writing to the parents don’t say “Well done!” </li></ul><ul><li>Audience ...
Tip #7 <ul><li>Reread your comments. </li></ul><ul><li>Nothing worse than tipos going home in a professional dokument.  </...
 
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Seven tips to better comment writing

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A teacher's guide to writing better comments on report cards.

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Seven tips to better comment writing

  1. 1. Seven Tips to Better Comment Writing …because I couldn’t think of any more.
  2. 2. Top # 1 <ul><li>“Take the “I” out of your comments.” </li></ul><ul><li>This is about them, not necessarily what they can do to please you, what you appreciate, or what you hope they will do. Focus on student behavior and the goal of education: learning. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>“I’m pleased with the progress Johnny is making.” </li></ul><ul><li>…is better stated: </li></ul><ul><li>“Johnny should be pleased with the progress he is making.” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Tip #2 <ul><li>Take the emphasis off grades. Grades are feedback. They are also motivators, but we really want to play this down. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Example: Instead of… </li></ul><ul><li>“ With a little more effort he could have earned a B.” Better, </li></ul><ul><li>“ With a little more he effort he would have had greater understanding of decimals.” </li></ul><ul><li>The goals for our students are that they are risk-takers, effective communicators, problem solvers, persistent, team players, independent learners, and so on. Comments are more powerful when geared toward these goals, not necessarily toward higher grades. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Tip #3 <ul><li>Don’t agree to have your picture taken. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Tip #3 <ul><li>Be specific. </li></ul><ul><li>It is nearly impossible for a struggling kid to know what “try harder” or “a little more effort” really means. “Turn in work on time” or “participate more in class by asking thoughtful questions” are both more specific. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Tip #4 <ul><li>Look for something to reinforce. </li></ul><ul><li>Any behavior you’d like to see more of; anything a student is beginning to do which is an improvement - try to reinforce that behavior. Best to say something that a student might not even be aware they are doing. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>Johnny has started to </li></ul><ul><li>show more of an </li></ul><ul><li>interest in personal </li></ul><ul><li>hygiene. </li></ul><ul><li>(Kidding.) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Tip #5 <ul><li>Look for something to refine. Improvement is possible for all. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>The talented student is the most neglected kid in this category. They get, “a pleasure to teach.” “A great kid.” </li></ul><ul><li>Feels good but… </li></ul><ul><li>What can they improve on? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Tip #6 <ul><li>Remember your audience. If you’re writing to the parents don’t say “Well done!” </li></ul><ul><li>Audience changes at different levels. For the purposes of consistency, I would propose that our report cards are written with parents as audience. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Tip #7 <ul><li>Reread your comments. </li></ul><ul><li>Nothing worse than tipos going home in a professional dokument. </li></ul><ul><li>Often it requires another person to proof-read. </li></ul>
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