Students Learning to Give Effective Feedback in Microsoft Word


My class of budding year 4 writers have dabbled in providing feedback since February. We used post it notes and built comments and feedback in as an essential stage of the Author Cycle.  In term 3, I decided to amp up the feedback process through the use of the Comments feature in Word. (Actually I discovered the Comments feature by happy accident, when 2 of my boys were using it to chat about Minecraft when they should have been conferencing.)

We began a process where students were required to seek feedback from 3 different editors (peers) when they reached the conferencing stage of their writing. I worked double time giving my teacher feedback to students, modelling where appropriate the meta language of similes, alliteration, rich language etc, to try to infiltrate this type of language into the students’ vocabulary.  Before long, we began to notice some great examples of effective feedback being provided by the students.

We located a broad diversity of student feedback examples and jumbled them up for the students. The students sorted the feedback into effective feedback and ineffective feedback and gave justifications.

We created a class 6 Star Criteria Checklist for student feedback, which has supported students through their author feedback process..

effective feedback

What makes effective feedback? (According to year 4s)

  • Makes sense
  • Uses specific language
  • Uses writer’s language
  • Shows you mistakes
  • Gives suggestions
  • Can include positive comments



Supporting the Author Cycle with Microsoft Word Features


I wanted my students to fully appreciate the importance of stages of the Author Cycle for their writing process and Microsoft Word was the perfect tool to hone their understandings.

In a unit of work on poetry, my students used Microsoft Word to follow through the Author Cycle. They:

  • Generated & Planned Poetry Ideas
  • Drafted- using “Track Changes” to show decision making and editing choices.
  • Conferenced and Edited- Using “Comments” to give and receive effective feedback from others.
  • Publishing- Making presentation decisions, including formatting .

Students improved in their writing, as well as their ability to reflect upon their writing process. They developed the Metalanguage to talk effectively about writing choices through the author journey.