I’m still knee-deep in rough drafts, but I have given feedback on 43 of them. That’s more than half! I am seriously working on them every minute of the day, but they are getting done. And I know it’s valuable and the best thing I can do for my students. But it may not have been my brightest idea. Next year I need to find a way to provide feedback and not lose a week of my life. The goal is to keep them writing and revising, rather than just turning in a “final” copy to me, only to ignore the comments I leave. It seems to be working so far!
This is one of my favorite assignments of the year. After reading Romeo & Juliet we study adolescent brain development and the effects of love on the brain. Students do research and decide who (or what) is to blame for the deaths in the play. The rough drafts are fascinating because every student approaches the essay from a different angle. I’ve read about placing the blame on the nurse, the friar, the prince, and the parents. But most of the students place the blame squarely on Romeo and Juliet. About half of them excuse the couple for their actions because of adolescent brain development and/or loves effect on brain function. But the other half? They show no mercy! Romeo and Juliet should have had the common sense and knowledge to avoid suicide, and the students are very convincing.