SAMR: It’s Not Just For Students.

I often agonize over the SAMR model and how I feel completely stuck at Augmentation most of the time.

Today, I felt like maybe I’m actually closer to Modification. Here’s why.

I’ve taught writing in some form my entire teaching career. This year, writing instruction is in my Journalistic Writing class. Before iPads and Google Drive, I scheduled lab time, wrote endless passes to the library, and begged students to complete drafts on time so I could grade them–by hand–fast enough to get the feedback to students in time for them to write a final draft.

This year’s students have been working on their very first news stories. Today was a writing day, where their only task was to work on rough drafts.

In the past, I would walk around the room and glance at sentences, making minor (mostly grammatical) changes.

Deciphering handwriting and scratched out comments here and there can be tough.

Today, I sat at my desk and read drafts as the students wrote them. I commented on their stories, looked for passive voice, found holes in their stories, suggested alternate sources. I worked with them. And as students had questions, I conferenced with students.

There aren’t many ways I can “significantly redesign the task” of writing news stories. But I have “significantly redesigned” how I provide feedback. Students this semester are getting feedback on their writing way more often than in semesters past, and that feedback is better quality (I type way faster than I handwrite). Later this week, we will do whole-group revisions and peer-to-peer revisions. Instead of only me reading their stories once or twice before a final draft, I’ll have read each of their stories at least 4 or 5 times, in addition to the attention of their classmates.

I have to believe that the quantity and quality of feedback will make them better writers.

For the past eight months, I’ve been thinking about the SAMR model as solely for my students. It wasn’t until today I considered it as a model for me.

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