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The Trade & Grade Lesson Plan: Teaching Students How to Grade & Revise a Rough Draft

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 4/5/2012

Want to get out of grading a big pile of rough drafts? Teach your students to revise their own rough drafts and grade their peer's papers.

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    Some say trade and grade is a waste of time and an infringement of student privacy. Others say it's a necessary evil that frees us up for better Internet time planned lessons. I say, let's make trade and grade both a time to teach and a time to save time.

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    The Introduction

    Although you will save time not having to grade rough drafts, the main purpose of this lesson is to teach students how to revise an essay.

    1. Instruct students to read their own rough draft.
    2. Instruct them to highlight the thesis statment.
    3. If there is no thesis statement, tell them to write a gigantic zero at the top of the page (give them a chance to rewrite it for a grade).
    4. Instruct students to underline the topic sentence of each paragraph.
    5. Exchange papers.
    6. Instruct students to read the introduction. If the introduction hooks the reader, assign 10 points.
    7. If the thesis statement (already highlighted) contains a subject and an opinion, assign 10 more points.
    8. If the thesis statement is the last sentence of the introduction, assign 5 points.
    9. Write the score for the introduction next to the introductory paragraph (25 points possible).
    10. Discuss ways to improve the introduction as you grade.
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    Body Paragraphs

    Learning how to revise an essay might be too much the first time. In addition to grading the body paragraph of an essay, use these procedures to grade paragraphs.

    • Exchange papers again.
    • Look at the topic sentence for the first body paragraph. If there is no topic sentence, explicit or implied, then the paragraph receives a zero.
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    Conclusion and Conclusion

    • If the conclusion of the essay exists, contains at least two sentences, and successfully wraps up the essay (this varies on the type of essay your writing. For suggestions on how to write an effective conclusion, follow this link), assign 15 points.
    • Give the rough draft back to its author.
    • Instruct students to contest unfair grades. Having students explain why their rough draft deserves more points opens the door for learning.
    • Instruct students to revise their rough draft.
    • Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

    This lesson is especially useful for timed writing assignments.