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Reaction Paper Format

Marcia M. Burrell (YOUR NAME)
EDU 510
Reaction paper # 1 (INCLUDE THE NUMBER OF THIS PAPER)
Date (THE DATE YOU TYPE IT, NOT THE DATE IT'S DUE)
Introduction to Reaction Papers (A TITLE THAT WILL TELL ME WHAT'S COMING)
Source:  (The title of the article and author is fine here)
(Go to selected references or to references handed out in class.  Three to Five Pages Long

     Purpose.  The purpose of typing reaction papers is to get you to reflect on assessment and assessment practices we have discussed over the last few weeks.  Think about the text, the classroom and the article.

    Content.  As a result of this goal, the content of these papers must be a combination of your reactions to readings, class activities, practical experience, and activities in other education classes. You only need to summarize a reading or activity or an educational concept enough to explain it so that when you provide a reaction, I will understand what you are reacting to.

    A strategy for developing each paper might be to begin by keeping some notes as you participate in class, or as you read the article. These notes would be reminders to yourself about particular topics you might react to. Before beginning a paper, look over the notes, and think about what you are learning, and what you think about this. Decide on the one or two key themes that you will write about in each paper, and then write about this theme, being conscious to include information from course readings or class activities only as they relate to your thinking.

    For example, is this what you thought assessment would be about? Are there some contradictions in what you are experiencing? What do the concepts suggest about your role and responsibility as a teacher and an assessor? What strikes you as exciting, frustrating, unusual, surprising, or consistent with what you expected? What pleases or angers or confuses you?

    Format. This guide is written and typed in the format you should follow. Since I will be commenting on your paper, please double space your papers. Use a 12-point font. Maintain one- inch margins. Notice how I use relatively small paragraphs and simple, straightforward sentences.

    If I referred to an article, I would put the author's last name, or the title so that you would know which article I was referring to. If you are referring to something in our text, include both the author of the specific page.

    Your paper should be typed in a word processing program on a computer. If you do not have access to a computer, you should take this semester to learn how to use one in the computer labs on campus. As a future teacher, you must be comfortable with computer technology. This is one way to begin. Spell-check your papers before printing them. Save a copy on a disk in case your paper gets lost or destroyed. Be careful to use the right form of the following words: it's/its; their/there/they're; then/than; should have, not should of; and principle/principal. Do not attach a cover sheet. Instead, use a heading similar to the one at the top of this guide. Put one staple in the top left corner.

    Submitting papers. I will ask for reaction papers during each class. You can also hand them in by placing them in my mailbox in 110 Poucher. I would prefer that you submit only one paper each week, although if something strikes you so strongly that you want to write a second paper during certain weeks that would be fine. I will not accept several papers from you during the last week or two of classes so plan and spread out your writing of these papers.

     Grading. I will be looking for elements in your paper which demonstrate a reading of the article, an understanding of the text readings, and some insight based on the discussions in class.

You already know that each reaction paper is worth 50 points.  The following scoring criteria (rubric will be used):

  • Insight (how does this fit for how you are feeling and thinking)
  • Mechanics (grammar/spelling format requested and anything else done not according to the directions. J)
  • Evidence (that you read and understand the article)
  • References (to the reading, discussion or experience)

    Mistakes: As I read your paper I will make note of spelling, grammar, sentence structure, wording, and format. If I reach five mistakes before the end of the paper I will stop reading and return it to you for editing. When you submit the rewritten (and corrected) version, please attach the rough draft to your corrected version. Hopefully this process will encourage you to focus more on the mechanics of your writing. Or, if writing is not a strength, you may want to have someone read your paper for mechanics before you submit it.

      Some final notes. Read how to read a journal article and as part of the content let me know about First Impressions, Basic Construction, and Between the Lines.

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Copyright, Marcia Burrell-Ihlow
State University of New York College at Oswego