Guest blog post by Sophia Garcia-Smith
Feedback is a simple concept, yet so powerful for all learners. In an age of digital everything, reminding students that words have power is a common theme in all classrooms. Leaving feedback has become a simple “like” or “thumbs up”, but what exactly do those things mean when it comes to leaving feedback?
Feedback for young writers
As writers we look at feedback as a way to make our writing better and help us become better writers. I have used a strategy for years that simplifies the process of leaving feedback. The strategy is called TAG. TAG stands for:
T – Tell me something you like
A – Ask me a question
G – Give me a suggestion using the words “I wonder”.
Students are not meant to use all three letters when utilizing the TAG strategy, but instead pick one to help them form appropriate comments. For example, a student could use the letter T to form a comment, “I like the way you added labels to your drawing”. This feedback would give the student a specific idea of what they did well in their writing piece.
Using the letter A to ask a question could cause the writer to pause and edit their work so the question would have an answer in their writing piece.
When using the letter G, giving a suggestion, we encourage students to use the words “I wonder” vs “You should ” or “I think”. The words, “I wonder”, change the tone to making a suggestion instead of making a judgment or expressing an opinion about the writing.
Feedback feature used for TAG comments
Click below to view an example from Luka, who wrote About America. The feedback section of WriteReader was used to add comments using the TAG strategy.
Click here to read Luka’s book About America
I created the slides below to guide teachers and students as they are using the TAG strategy. The slides can be displayed on a screen, or printed and hung in the room as a reference for students as they view and comment on their students’ writing and other work.
Creating Thoughtful Comments
I have used this strategy with students in kindergarten through 5th grade. You can make it as simple or complex as you want, depending on the grade level you are working with. This strategy can be used with all kinds of student work, both digital or traditional pen and paper. Read more about how 4th graders used the TAG strategy to leave comments on their classmates’ writing at our WriteReader Book Tasting here.
After using this strategy for a while, you will begin to see that students use TAG without thinking about it. If we start teaching appropriate commenting, maybe it will give students and families pause before they just click the “like” button.
About the author
Sophia Garcia-Smith is an educator who loves to create, collaborate and share her love of teaching and technology. She currently works as a Library Media Specialist in a suburban Chicago school district. She has presented at many educational tech conferences across the United States. She has connected with schools from around the world looking to give her students an authentic audience. Follow Sophia on Twitter @Sophiagsteach.