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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 5 years, 8 months ago


Giving Feedback: Details, Details, Details!


Every semester, quite a few students will remark in the end-of-semester course evaluations that they wish they had gotten more specific, detailed feedback about their projects. Some students also remark that they found it really hard to give feedback, since they just weren't used to giving feedback to other students about their work. So, I've prepared this page to try to give you some examples to look at, helping you to see the MANY ways it is possible to engage with someone else's writing.


First, take a look at this wonderful video about making good comments. They are third-grade students; I thought it was a very cute video - and yes, these students all blog! A quick summary of the tips in the video: Compliment the writer in a specific way; add new information; make a connection; end with a question; proofread your comment.



In addition to the good advice from Mrs. Yollis's students, I would urge you to look for DETAIL, very very very specific details, rather than general comments like "good work" or "I really liked your stories." The more detailed and specific you can be in your feedback, the more useful it will be for the other person. Here are some examples of Storybook comments that contain very specific details and vivid, personal observations. Take a look and see what you think!


If you are picking the Storybook as a free choice, explain WHY you picked it:

  • I chose to view your storybook because of the intriguing title. I was really interested to see what Biblical love stories you planned on telling.
  • I chose your storybook as my free choice simply for the fact that it was about elephants...and I love elephants, lol. I actually just got to meet one at a fair the other day and it shook my hand.
  • I chose your storybook as a free selection this week because it is “out of my comfort zone” I guess you could say: I’m used to reading about fairy tale princesses when I had the option to pick out the storybooks of my own. I knew yours would be a great change and I definitely was right.  


Let the author know exactly which page(s) you read and WHY:

  • I chose to come back and read through your story book because I remember being really impressed with the cover page, first story, images and concept (basically everything ha ha) the first time. I started over this time and reread through the whole story book.
  • This is the first time I have looked at your storybook so I read the introduction and the first story.
  • I have never heard the story of Graziella - maybe this is just a new name for an old story - so that was my big motivation for reading this particular story.


If there was SPECIFIC information in the Author's Note you really appreciated, let the author know:

  • You did a good job of writing within the dialect the people would be talking in.  That can be really hard sometimes, but you did a good job of being consistent with the language that they used.  I also like that you included the translations at the end.  That was very useful because I would have had no idea what those words meant.
  • Your introduction is great. I think it was an excellent idea to define just what a cryptid creature is because I am sure a lot of people might have never head the term. I think the way you explain it is very clear, and I like how you really focus in on how cryptid creatures ultimately just want to actually have a place to live and be able to get along with the human population.
  • I had never heard of Sir Francis Drake before reading your page and even though your stories were fiction, I feel like I have learned from it.

If you have SPECIFIC questions not answered in the Introduction or Author's Note, ask those questions now!

  • You do an excellent job letting your readers know what's to come in your storybook. I was curious, though, did you only find stories about elephants in Indian texts? If so, I wonder if there's a reason for that.
  • I'm really curious as to why and how these four dragon-hunters ended up together at that table in the bar, and wish you could put something in somewhere to say if there was a reason for their meeting there.
  • The only thing I really struggled with while reading your storybook, was that I felt like there was a lot of background material about Vladimir Propp that I was missing out on. I would enjoy the stories even more if I knew more about him I think.

If you were surprised by some element in the story, say so, and explain WHY you were surprised:

  • In your story, "Chad the Elephant" I was very surprised at  how sad the ending was! I guess I always just assumed that any story that included elephants would be a happy one because I see them as happy animals. But I can see how humans can turn the story into a very sad one, very easily.
  • Something I did not expect was that mermaids could look more like serpents. Maybe Disney cleans things up a little too much--I just never would have guessed that they could have had sharp teeth and looked scary!
  • I also read your story about Mona Lisa.  I expected them to go inside the painting of the Mona Lisa, so I was surprised when the story was about Gumby being taken by the security guards.  But I see now that you are just setting the story up for your final story, so it totally works.  I can't wait to read the big finale!

If some aspect of the story really moved you or made you laugh or that you thought was a really smart choice, focus on that SPECIFIC moment in detail:

  • I know this was an adaptation of an existing story, but you definitely have a talent for writing with a purpose! My heart broke when the cat didn't return. Though your writing seems so simple, you do such a great job portraying the animal's emotions through your word choices.
  • The idea of having the ghost appear as a janitor is brilliant. In my opinion, janitors seem to have really good stories. They know the ropes around the building and probably see many things that people who just come and go do not.
  • I really like the perspective from which you’re telling these tales. The perspective of the Greek is a really good one to give an objective view of the early church. It sets the historical period really well, and it’s interesting to think how obscure and crazy Jesus’s miracles seemed back then. Now it seems like they’ve become less raw and awe-inspiring to many people, just because they’ve been told so many times by now. Your narrator is among the FIRST generations of hearing these stories, which is awesome to think about.

If the story is one you are familiar with or one you have a personal connection with, share your own SPECIFIC thoughts about that:

  • The story that I liked was Rapunzel's Tower. I actually never knew the real ending or heard of any other endings! All I’ve ever heard was that she let down her hair and then the prince and Rapunzel lived happily ever after! Total surprise and thanks to you something new that I’ve read/learned.
  • My stepdad is very much into "The Bigfoot Phenomenon" and he is convinced Bigfoot has to exist. So many stories of cryptic creatures are told by the people that are trying to catch them on film or prove their existence, and it was so fun to hear their own stories from their own points of view!
  • The story of David and Bathsheba really caught my attention. It is really interesting how you showed that Bathsheba was not happy and that is why she cheated on her husband, not because David was the king and she kind of had to obey his orders. It also didn't show the selfishness of David and made it seem like Bathsheba's husband dying really wasn't a big deal. In the Bible I have so much more compassion for Bathsheba's husband than in the way you wrote the story.

You might project yourself into the story, identifying with a SPECIFIC character or imagining yourself in that SPECIFIC situation:

  • I read the introduction and the first story. It was almost like making a scavenger hunt through the Louvre, except looking for a person. I think wandering around the Louvre like that would be so much fun.
  • Thank you for writing over a god that is not well known like Greek ones. In my head I was like this Devi girl is perfect! Where is the drama? what evil thing is she going to do? The it finally came and she was still perfect! I guess you always need a good person in your stories. I would hate it if all the women on Mythological Lane had only bad secrets. Devi is so good!
  • Samson must have loved Delilah very much because I feel that if I were him I would have probably figured out that Delilah was the one ratting out on him to the Phillistines! And I would definitely not tell her what my weakness is.

If you see a connection between this story and some other story, explain WHY it reminds you of that other story:

  • The idea of being visited three times reminds me of A Christmas Carol and being visited by three ghosts in that story. But I like that yours has the same ghost coming back all three times rather than a different one each time, and that the ghost has a very personal motivation for what he does.
  • I do like the idea of the apocalypse happening under our noses, and all the biblical stories being sort of figurative. Your entire storybook reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or something similar because you are reframing biblical stories into a more modern setting with new characters and plot elements.
  • I really loved how you had Vladimir snapping his fingers to turn the lights off and on. Ha ha. It honestly made me think of the television show Supernatural where that exact same thing happens and is, well, supernatural - just like in your story.

You can state the SPECIFIC message you got out of the story and whether you agree or disagree with the message:

  • The point you made about people or animals being very different and still capable of being friends is so true! I have experienced this in my own life with some of my friends. Also, I have witnessed this between animals, too. Right now my family has a cat that absolutely loves my dog. So strange! I think it's a very important lesson for children to learn which makes it great that you used it as a bedtime story.
  • I also think you did a great job of accomplishing your goal of telling people that Sasquatches are peaceful creature that do not mean any harm to humans.  Your story made it seem as though they are just as scared of us as we are of them.
  • I agree with the last statement you put in your story. We all need to have our own little secrets. Not everyone should know every single detail about you. Knowledge is power but too much can be destructive! We all have personality traits that we may not show on a day-to-day basis and this is okay.

When you comment on some design feature (color, image, fonts, etc.), explain WHY you like it or WHY you would do it differently:

  • As for your first story, I love the color scheme you decided to use. It reminds me of a children’s storybook I had when I was little. I still remember it!
  • It would have been fun to play with the font of the stories, give them a more love letter feel.
  • Using italics for your past stories and regular type for your present stories helps keep the stories separate. I would have been confused otherwise!

If you comment on the image, explain in DETAIL what associations the image conjured up for you:

  • The cover page is so precious! I think it fits the title perfectly. The clouds in the background give a sweet childlike feeling to the page. The image on the cover page is also really great, especially because there is an animal on the dad's shirt.
  • The picture you chose conveyed an eerie sense of isolation.  If I were out looking for a flower, I might think twice before going near this cave.  
  • When I pulled up your page I was a little startled to find a blonde pointing a gun at me. I think it is an amazing image to use to pull people in ha ha.

You can note any SPECIFIC connections between this project and your own project:

  • As for your introduction, the first thing I noticed was the similarities between your storybook and mine. I am also using animals and bedtime stories as my theme. I didn't stick with one particular type of animal, but each of my stories also have positive morals that can be taken from it.
  • I liked how you kept the story very close to the original and just added minor details.  I am planning on doing the same thing, since my storybook is based on Bible stories as well.  I would feel weird if I changed up the plot too much. So that is something I am thinking about too.
  • This is my first time to read your storybook but it is of particular interest to me because I am also doing my storybook about cryptids. It will be interesting to get some new and fresh ideas! You are doing some cryptids different from the ones I chose, like Mothman. I had not heard of Mothman before!





(image from Wikipedia)

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