If you find that you are asked often by students to provide feedback on their writing (being asked to help edit) and they share them with you via a Google Docs, it can be hard to offer consistent feedback. You may find yourself forgetting to focus upon one area of their writing because you have spent more time commenting within a different area of their paper.
…you may find that you are re-writing their work versus directing them towards suggestions to improve their work on their own and learn to become a better writer.
…you also may find that you are spending A LOT of time during this process with them.
Each can be a serious problem.
Our school recently received really useful training by one of our English teachers, Carole Lee Deemer, where she directed us towards creating shortcut codes and comment banks.
- Shortcut codes allow you to type in a sequence of letters and upon hitting the enter key, a pre-determined statement that you have plugged into preferences comes up in its place. This is what happens when you type in 1/2 and word processing software formats it for you or (c) becomes converted into the copyright sign (only with these, you are creating your own shortcut commands). To create a shortcut code for yourself (to add to the preset ones), go to Tools within the Google Doc and you select Preferences. You will see the list of preset shortcuts come up, however this is where you can also add your own! Just type in your code and then, in the next cell, type in what you want it to say. When you type the code and hit enter, it will convert your code into lengthier text for you, adding it to the paper!
- A comment bank is a list that you create of common comments that you use with students that you copy and paste into student work using comments to the students to make editing easier. The copy and paste of the comment saves time over re-writing the comment over and over and over again every time you edit. I like it because you can really consider the best ways to word your comments. It is here where I often fail to guide the students versus re-writing for them. If the comments are designed to guide, this can help you serve that role as a person who guides the student to learn.
After our training, a few teachers collaborated to create codes (at times we threw out common editing marks at times in favor of a short and easy keystroke for quick editing). We also created comment banks and organized them into categories that could be used at varied points to provide guidance. We have them here in this shared Google Doc (which will be updated, as needed).
Combining these strategies with suggesting, editing, and commenting features helps it to become much easier and quicker to edit.