Reflective Memos

Writers gain control over their writing when they have frequent opportunities to reflect on what they were trying to write, what, in their writing process went well and what didn’t, how they broke through obstacles, and how the strategies they used in one writing project might transfer to future writing projects.  Providing them with five minutes of class time to compose answers to reflection questions can help them become aware of writerly moves that have worked well (and thus merits repeating) and what hasn’t worked well (and thus merits revising).

Here's how it works:

Between drafts: Ask students to jot down notes intended as reminders for themselves, or to attach as a memo to a turned-in draft. Here, they’re answering three questions:

5 minute timer
  • What have you already revised (based on peer comments)?
  • What do you know you need to revise, but haven’t been able to get to yet?
  • What, specifically, would you like me to respond to in this draft?

With a final draft: 

  • Which section of this draft do you feel most confident about? Why? What was your process for writing that/those section(s)?
  • If you were to revise this again, what might you alter?
  • Where (inside or outside your coursework) might you see an assignment like this one again?
  • If you are given a similar assignment in the future, what writing tips would you give yourself?