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Erasing the English Teacher Status Quo
How to Give Constructive Feedback to Creative Writing
December 14, 2020 // by Lindsay Ann // 1 Comment
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Do you wonder how to give constructive feedback on creative writing and poetry pieces created by student writers who have put their heart and soul into them?
I think all teachers struggle with this question to some extent. It is because we care.
This can lead to indecisive response to student work. We waste valuable time when we lack a plan for response and worry about the emotional reaction to our feedback.
In this post, I’m all about sharing practical strategies that will teach you how to best give constructive feedback.
I want you to feel as comfortable responding to creative writing assignments as analysis based writing or argumentative writing assignments so that you can help student writers grow without deflating their fragile egos.
Setting the Stage for Writing Feedback
I think that it’s important to remember the feeling associated with having someone else read our work.
When I was a student, it was always a mixture of anticipation and dread . Would my instructor like what I had written? Would my grade reflect the time and effort I had put into the assignment?
A couple of things before we discuss how to give constructive feedback…
👉 I think that it’s important to be clear with students upfront about the skills you’re looking for in a creative writing assignment. Frontload with exemplars and use creative writing exercises to practice skills. Then, when it comes time for students to write, they will know what they are expected to do as writers.
👉 At the same time, it’s important to focus on feedback during the writing process . This allows our response to be as readers rather than as evaluators.
👉 Finally, I think that it makes a BIG difference when you model your own creative process for students. The more I can show students that writing is messy and imperfect, that I go through the same process as them, the more my classroom dynamic shifts from teacher-centered to student-centered and collaborative. If you’re wondering how to give constructive feedback to students, ask them to give feedback to you first.
Constructive Feedback for Students
When it comes to student feedback, less is more. I’ve blogged about this before, but I’ll say it again (and again) (and…again).
Most students don’t care about our carefully-worded paragraphs. They want to be seen and heard , but they also want to be able to understand what they can do to improve.
This means that feedback should be direct, specific, and actionable . This means that we need to respond as readers , not evaluators. This means that we will leave a manageable amount of feedback to build a student’s momentum.
Strategies for How to Give Constructive Feedback
➡️ Only mark the lines you love the most. Highlight them, underline them, put a star in the margin. Choose a couple of these lines to comment on. What did you notice? What did you like/realize/want to know?
➡️ Focus on the skills taught in class. So, if you taught characterization and concrete details, give feedback specifically on those elements. Ask students to revisit resources/screencasts/examples, etc. to review these skills.
➡️ Focus on moments of clarity and confusion. Where did you, as a reader, make a connection or realize something important? Where were you confused?
➡️ Yin Yang Feedback
- Find something specific that you liked/enjoyed (and explain why/how ). Maybe it’s a bit of figurative language or a vivid image. Pair this with a suggestion for where the writer can continue to work on this same skill. Essentially, this is like saying, “See, here, you did this thing that I liked and enjoyed…can you do more of that over here?” Or, “As a reader, it seemed to me like your intent was x, y, or z when you wrote _________. I’m wondering if you can make this clearer when _________.
- What is the highest level of skill mastery you can observe? Find an example of success and talk about why/how it was successful. What is the most important skill that still needs to be developed? Find a place where the student can begin working on this skill.
- Where were you most engaged/interested in the story. Leave a quick note about what captured your attention. Where were you least engaged/interested? This type of teacher feedback encourages revision.
➡️ Be curious. Read through the draft and ask questions… only questions . This is a kind of constructive feedback students love to hate (because it makes them think ). I ask my students to respond and revise. This strategy rocks because it establishes feedback as a two-way conversation rather than a one-way lecture.
➡️ Have students direct your feedback by asking you questions about their work. Alternatively, you can ask students to reflect on how/where they have demonstrated the skills you’ve taught in class (or the goals they’ve set for themselves). Then, you simply read through and respond to their comments, sharing your thoughts and suggestions.
➡️ Use a writer’s workshop model in which you conference with students about their work. You can train students to lead in these conversations if you choose the 1:1 model. Alternatively, you can form writing circles in which you provide students examples of constructive feedback before asking students to take turns reading their work out loud and solicit feedback from group members. You can float between writing groups, joining the conversations as needed.
I hope that I’ve helped you learn more about how to give constructive feedback to creative writers.
As we become purposeful in our responses to students, the benefit is that we streamline our own systems and processes which allows us to feel better about the feedback we are giving and also the amount of time it takes to provide this feedback!
Hey, if you loved this post, I want to be sure you’ve had the chance to grab a FREE copy of my guide to streamlined grading . I know how hard it is to do all the things as an English teacher, so I’m over the moon to be able to share with you some of my best strategies for reducing the grading overwhelm. Click on the link above or the image below to get started!
About Lindsay Ann
Lindsay has been teaching high school English in the burbs of Chicago for 18 years. She is passionate about helping English teachers find balance in their lives and teaching practice through practical feedback strategies and student-led learning strategies. She also geeks out about literary analysis, inquiry-based learning, and classroom technology integration. When Lindsay is not teaching, she enjoys playing with her two kids, running, and getting lost in a good book.
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Giving Effective Feedback to Creative Writers
Your writing partner has asked for some feedback on her novel. Now what?
The Three P’s: Purpose, Plan, and Process
The Three P's of providing feedback will help you provide feedback that your writing colleauges can actually use.
Know Your Purpose
Grounding yourself with the purpose of your feedback helps keep you productively focused. Clarity of purpose should be your starting point before you even start reading or listening to a written work. It will guide your attention and ensure you are more likely to help than harm your writing partner. In other words: Are you giving tough feedback to someone who can benefit from it or shattering a new writer’s confidence? Are you there to help a new writer feel heard, or are you working with someone half-way down the path to develop their craft? Are you looking down in the weeds or at the big picture? Asking the writer what they want from you at the beginning of the feedback process is the best way to guide your efforts.
Make a Plan
Sitting down to provide feedback can mean different things to different people on different days. We are all busy and distracted, and having a targeted agenda can make sure we stick to our goals. Once you have your purpose in mind, it can help to have a written plan of attack that will allow you to focus your efforts and make sure you don’t forget to cover all the ground you intended. This plan can take the form of a simple to-do list or a more formal planning tool like the one shown above and below.
You can get it here: Creative Writing Feedback Planning Tool
Your plan should include the purpose of the feedback you are giving and critical areas you will be addressing, such as emotional reactions, story structure, craft, or editing. For long-term projects, keep each feedback sitting’s planning tool. Collectively, they can provide a historical record of the feedback supplied over time, which can help identify areas of feedback yet to be covered, or recurring problem spots.
Have a Process
Building a standard process can help you do your best work. Sample from these steps to make your own workflow.
1. Centered around the purpose of the feedback at hand, create your plan.
2. Set aside an appropriately sized amount of time. If your plan will require multiple sittings, go ahead and schedule these out on your calendar, so time doesn’t get away from you. I find it very inefficient to let too much time pass between sittings because I lose a sense of what I have already done and must start over to orient myself. Who has time for that?
3. Find a place where you can focus, be that hiding from your family in the bathroom, in a coffee shop soothed by the white noise of steaming espresso, or, if you are lucky enough to have one, locked in your home office.
4. For your first pass at written notes, make a version of the document, be it printed or an electronic file, that no one besides you will ever see. Here you won’t have to hold back or filter your thoughts. Having an eyes-only version of your first feedback pass ensures more helpful feedback later and allows you to move more quickly.
5. Read the document or portion you are working on more than once. It is hard to give good feedback if you have only skimmed.
6. Follow your feedback plan and take written notes about both what works very well and what needs improvement on your private version of the document.
7. You can wordsmith the final feedback on the version of the document you will provide the author at the end of the process. Don't overwhelm new writers with too much feedback - prioritize. Remember that writers at all levels appreciate kindness.
8. If possible, share your feedback with the author in person while physically present or using conferencing technology. A conversation allows the author to ask the reviewer for clarification and squeezes the most value out of the feedback. This connection is even more important when you are working with newer writers. One-on-one feedback allows you to nurture a trusted relationship with inexperienced writers that will help build their confidence.
Thanks to the following blogs for the fantastic information about giving feedback to creative writers.
How to Give Constructive Feedback to Creative Writing
How to Give Feedback on Fiction: A Guide for Readers
#5onFri: Five Tips For Writing A Helpful Critique
How to give constructive criticism to other writers
About this Strategy Guide
This strategy guide explains how you can employ peer review in your classroom, guiding students as they offer each other constructive feedback to improve their writing and communication skills.
Strategy in practice, related resources.
Peer review refers to the many ways in which students can share their creative work with peers for constructive feedback and then use this feedback to revise and improve their work. For the writing process, revision is as important as drafting, but students often feel they cannot let go of their original words. By keeping an audience in mind and participating in focused peer review interactions, students can offer productive feedback, accept constructive criticism, and master revision. This is true of other creative projects, such as class presentations, podcasts, or blogs. Online tools can also help to broaden the concept of “peers.” Real literacy happens in a community of people who can make meaningful connections. Peer review facilitates the type of social interaction and collaboration that is vital for student learning.
Peer review can be used for different class projects in a variety of ways:
- Teach students to use these three steps to give peer feedback: Compliments, Suggestions, and Corrections (see the Peer Edit with Perfection! Handout ). Explain that starting with something positive makes the other person feel encouraged. You can also use Peer Edit With Perfection Tutorial to walk through the feedback process with your students.
- Provide students with sentence starter templates, such as, “My favorite part was _________ because __________,” to guide students in offering different types of feedback. After they start with something positive, have students point out areas that could be improved in terms of content, style, voice, and clarity by using another sentence starter (“A suggestion I can offer for improvement is ___________.”). The peer editor can mark spelling and grammar errors directly on the piece of writing.
- Teach students what constructive feedback means (providing feedback about areas that need improvement without criticizing the person). Feedback should be done in an analytical, kind way. Model this for students and ask them to try it. Show examples of vague feedback (“This should be more interesting.”) and clear feedback (“A description of the main character would help me to imagine him/her better.”), and have students point out which kind of feedback is most useful. The Peer Editing Guide offers general advice on how to listen to and receive feedback, as well as how to give it.
- For younger students, explain that you need helpers, so you will show them how to be writing teachers for each other. Model peer review by reading a student’s piece aloud, then have him/her leave the room while you discuss with the rest of the class what questions you will ask to elicit more detail. Have the student return, and ask those questions. Model active listening by repeating what the student says in different words. For very young students, encourage them to share personal stories with the class through drawings before gradually writing their stories.
- Create a chart and display it in the classroom so students can see the important steps of peer editing. For example, the steps might include: 1. Read the piece, 2. Say what you like about it, 3. Ask what the main idea is, 4. Listen, 5. Say “Add that, please” when you hear a good detail. For pre-writers, “Add that, please” might mean adding a detail to a picture. Make the chart gradually longer for subsequent sessions, and invite students to add dialogue to it based on what worked for them.
- Incorporate ways in which students will review each other’s work when you plan projects. Take note of which students work well together during peer review sessions for future pairings. Consider having two peer review sessions for the same project to encourage more thought and several rounds of revision.
- Have students review and comment on each other’s work online using Nicenet , a class blog, or class website.
- Have students write a class book, then take turns bringing it home to read. Encourage them to discuss the writing process with their parents or guardians and explain how they offered constructive feedback to help their peers.
Using peer review strategies, your students can learn to reflect on their own work, self-edit, listen to their peers, and assist others with constructive feedback. By guiding peer editing, you will ensure that your students’ work reflects thoughtful revision.
- Lesson Plans
- Strategy Guides
Using a collaborative story written by students, the teacher leads a shared-revising activity to help students consider content when revising, with students participating in the marking of text revisions.
After analyzing Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza, students create a class book with artwork and information about their ancestry, traditions, and recipes, followed by a potluck lunch.
Students are encouraged to understand a book that the teacher reads aloud to create a new ending for it using the writing process.
While drafting a literary analysis essay (or another type of argument) of their own, students work in pairs to investigate advice for writing conclusions and to analyze conclusions of sample essays. They then draft two conclusions for their essay, select one, and reflect on what they have learned through the process.
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If you're assigning this to your students, copy the worksheet to your account and save. When creating an assignment, just select it as a template!
What is a Creative Writing Worksheet?
If you are someone who enjoys writing, you probably know that it takes more than just creativity to produce an engaging story or a captivating poem. These kills require a lot of practice and a structured approach. This is where creative writing worksheets come in handy. Whether you are a seasoned writer or just starting, these worksheets can help you express your thoughts and ideas more effectively. These worksheets help kids plan different story formats, with story maps to guide plot or fun shapes to fit a theme or idea.
Why are Creative Writing Templates Important and How are They Best Used?
Creative work is often where children get the most enjoyment out of writing in school and where they can exercise their imaginations. These templates help develop their plot sequence, create personalities for characters, and shape conflict. Moreover the templates give students the opportunity to write about themes and ideas in a format that is different from traditional lined paper, which can stimulate their creativity and make the process more fun and interesting.
Creative writing worksheets, such as story template writing and creative writing outline template, are essential tools for developing writing skills. They offer a structured approach to learning and practicing writing skills by breaking down the writing process into manageable steps and providing prompts and activities. By using these worksheets, students can learn how to organize their thoughts, create an outline, and develop a cohesive and engaging plot. This can help writers build confidence in their abilities and develop a better understanding of how to craft a well-written story or essay.
In addition to providing structure, these worksheets also encourage creativity and self-expression. By presenting your class with prompts that challenge them to think outside the box, these worksheets can help them express themselves in unique and innovative ways. Moreover, they can ignite a passion for writing and storytelling, which can translate to other aspects of their lives.
Besides promoting creativity, these worksheets also reinforce language skills, including vocabulary and grammar. By including prompts that focus on specific vocabulary or grammar concepts, students can learn and practice those concepts in a way that is engaging and memorable.
Types of Creative Writing Worksheets
- Writing Paper: Writing paper is a basic worksheet that provides a blank space for you to write your story or poem. It is an essential tool for any writer, and you can find various types of paper, including lined paper, graph paper, and plain paper.
- Story Planning Template: A story planning template is a worksheet that helps you plan your story. It includes sections for characters, setting, plot, and other important elements. This template is useful for those who want to organize their ideas before starting to write.
- Story Writing Outline: A story writing outline is a worksheet that helps you create a structured outline for your work. It includes sections for the beginning, middle, and end, as well as character development and plot progression.
- Creative Writing Template: This is a worksheet that provides a framework for your writing. It can include sections for different types of writing, such as descriptive writing or poetry, and can be used to structure your process.
- Butterfly Writing Template: A butterfly writing template is a fun and engaging worksheet that helps you explore different perspectives and viewpoints. It includes sections for different viewpoints, such as the perspective of an insect or a flower, and can be used to write stories or poems.
- Creative Writing Planning Sheet: A creative writing planning sheet is a worksheet that helps you plan. It includes sections for brainstorming, outlining, and organizing your ideas.
- Creative Writing Storyboard: A creative writing storyboard is a worksheet that helps you visualize what you want to writer about. It includes sections for different scenes and can be used to plan your story's progression visually.
- Creative Writing Prompts: These prompts are worksheets that provide inspiration. They can include prompts for different types of writing, such as poetry or fiction, and can help you generate new ideas.
Making Creative Writing Worksheets from Scratch
- Determine Your Objective: Start by identifying what you want your students to achieve through the worksheet. Do you want them to practice a specific writing skill or develop their creativity? Knowing your objective will help you create prompts and activities that are focused and effective.
- Choose a Format: Decide on the format that you want your worksheet to take. Different formats work better for different objectives, so choose one that aligns with your goal.
- Create Prompts and Activities: Develop prompts and activities that are tailored to your objective and format. For example, if you want your class to practice descriptive writing, you could provide a prompt that asks them to describe a particular object or scene.
- Incorporate Visual Aids: Consider using visual aids, such as images or illustrations, to help students generate ideas and engage with the material. This can make the worksheet more interesting and accessible.
- Test and Revise: Once you have created your worksheet, test it out with a small group of students to see how effective it is. Take feedback on board and make revisions as needed to ensure that the worksheet meets your objectives and engages students in the writing process.
Tips For Creating Your Own Creative Writing Worksheets
If you want to create your own worksheets, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Determine the Purpose of Your Worksheet: Decide what type of worksheet you want to create and what it should accomplish.
- Choose a Template: Select a template that fits the purpose of your worksheet. There are many templates available online that you can use as a starting point.
- Include Prompts or Examples: To help your class or yourself get started, include prompts or examples that will inspire creativity.
- Make it Visually Appealing: Use images, colors, and fonts to make your worksheet visually appealing.
Making a worksheet from scratch can be fun, but using one of our premade templates will be so much easier! Check out how below.
How to Make Creative Writing Worksheets
Choose one of the premade templates.
We have lots of amazing templates to choose from. Take a look at our colorful example for inspiration!
Click on "Copy Template"
Once you do this, you will be directed to the storyboard creator.
Give Your Poster a Name!
Be sure to call it something related to the topic so that you can easily find it in the future.
Edit Your Poster
This is where you will include details, text, images, and make any aesthetic changes that you would like. The options are endless!
Click "Save and Exit"
When you are finished with your poster, click this button in the lower right hand corner to exit your storyboard.
From here you can print, download as a PDF, attach it to an assignment and use it digitally, and more!
Using Creative Writing Worksheets Effectively
Once you have created your worksheets, here are some strategies for using them effectively:
- Incorporate them into your teaching: Use creative writing worksheets as part of your classroom curriculum to help your students improve their writing skills.
- Use them as a warm-up: Use creative writing worksheets as a warm-up activity before beginning a writing project to get your creative juices flowing.
- Share examples: Share examples of completed worksheets to help your class understand how to use them effectively.
Even More Storyboard That Resources and Free Printables
- Poem Templates
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Frequently Asked Questions About Creative Writing Worksheets
In what ways do creative writing worksheets help improve writing skills.
These worksheets, including story planning templates and story outlines, are a versatile tool for improving composition skills. They provide a structured approach, while offering prompts and activities that focus on specific skills such as character development or descriptive writing. In addition to helping students develop creativity, vocabulary, and grammar skills, these worksheets can improve critical thinking skills by asking writers to analyze and interpret literary texts or create their own stories and characters. By providing a framework for them to organize their thoughts and ideas, these templates can be especially helpful for kids who struggle with getting started on a written assignment. Overall, they are a valuable resource for helping students become better writers and more confident communicators.
How can creative writing worksheets be used to teach different writing genres?
These worksheets can be adapted to teach different genres, such as poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. For example, a worksheet could focus on developing descriptive language for poetry writing, or on creating character profiles for fiction writing. By tailoring the prompts and activities to specific genres, children can learn the skills needed to write in those genres.
How can creative writing worksheets be used to encourage creativity?
Examples and worksheets can be used to encourage creativity by providing prompts and activities that inspire writers to think outside the box. For example, a worksheet could ask students to write a story from the perspective of an inanimate object, or to create a new world with its own rules and customs. By encouraging writers to explore their imagination and creativity, our worksheets can help foster a love of the written word and storytelling.
How can teachers help students who want to know how to start creative writing using worksheets?
Teachers can help by providing clear instructions and guidance on how to use the worksheets effectively. This can include demonstrating how to use story planning templates and outlines to organize their thoughts and ideas, as well as providing prompts and activities that inspire creativity and encourage writers to think outside the box. Additionally, teachers can offer feedback and support throughout the process to help students develop their creative ideas, writing skills and build confidence. By providing a supportive and structured learning environment, teachers can help students of all levels improve their abilities and achieve their goals.
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8 ways to give better feedback to creatives
By April Kilcrease
Published on November 20, 2017
Illustration by Fabio Bene Even the most skilled creative team will occasionally miss the mark. Maybe their aim was slightly off, or you perhaps you were looking at totally different targets. Providing useful feedback can help everyone realign and pull the project’s objective into sharper focus. But helping them draw the best version out of their creative quiver can be a challenge. You want to be precise without micromanaging, kind without being condescending, and direct but not dismissive. With all these fine lines to walk, how do you make sure your feedback sparks forward momentum and doesn’t derail the project? The following tips will help ensure you and your creative colleagues are communicating effectively, so that you end up with a final product everyone is proud of.
1. Be specific
Avoid frustrating, and potentially unnecessary, rounds of revisions by giving clear and specific feedback. Saying you like or dislike something or that something “feels off” isn’t particularly helpful without more context. Take the time to think through what’s lurking behind your initial impression. Is the copy bogged down with technical jargon? Is the text difficult to read? Is the layout too busy? Say so. If your creative colleague knows why you like or dislike it, they’ll be better prepared to move forward in the right direction. Similarly, phrases like “Make it pop,” “Jazz it up,” or “Let’s take it to the next level,” will only leave them trying to puzzle out your meaning. And when the next round of revisions comes in, you’ll likely discover that you and your creative team have completely different ideas of what “fresh” or “bold” looks like. Giving creative feedback can seem intimidating, especially when it lies outside of your area of expertise. If you’re struggling with articulating what you want, find examples that demonstrate what you’re looking for and then explain what you like about them. Without examples to reference, even the most specific feedback can get lost in translation.
2. Find the problems, not the solutions
Share your opinions, but don’t tell them exactly what to do. There’s a big difference between being specific and coming up with the solution. Many creatives work best when they’re able to maintain a sense of ownership of their work. This is their area of expertise. You didn’t hire them to be a glorified transcriptionist or mouse-clicker. Trust that they know what they’re doing—and that they’ll probably come up with a better solution. This isn’t to say that creatives don’t have their own blind spots. But rather than attempting to redesign or rewrite something yourself, explain what you think isn’t working. For example, don’t say, “Make the logo bigger.” Explain why you want it bigger. Is it getting lost on the page? Is it difficult to make out what it is? Once you’ve laid out the problem, your designer might see a more elegant solution involving color, placement, or white space. When you’re discussing possible revisions with a group, a problem-focused approach also invites greater collaboration. If you say, “I think the logo should be orange and blue,” the conversation might not move beyond whether or not orange and blue is the right combo. But if you say, “I don’t think the color scheme matches the company’s personality,” you’ll invite a conversation about what the company’s personality is and what colors would best reflect it.
3. Stay focused on the goal
Most of us are opinion-making machines, well versed in spouting off critiques of movies and Instagram photos. But when it comes to giving creative feedback in a business setting, you need to check your personal tastes at the door and focus on the project’s target audience and goals. This might be one of the hardest and most important parts of providing useful creative direction. To keep your emotions and biases out of the equation, always ask yourself how the current version is or isn’t meeting the business objective. Then frame your feedback accordingly. A personal response, like “I hate blue tones in film,” isn’t particularly useful. Whereas if you said, “I feel like the dark lighting in this clip won’t appeal to the outdoorsy millennials that we’re trying to reach,” the mismatch between the end goal and the current version is clear.
4. Ask questions
Much of the creative process is about whittling down options. If something isn’t working for you or if you’re confused by a choice that was made, ask your writer or designer to walk you through their reasoning. Posing questions will give you better insight into their perspective and you might discover that their version solves potential issues that you hadn’t considered. Likewise, your questions might help them see holes in their work that they wouldn’t have noticed on their own. Asking questions is also a surefire way to turn a one-sided critique into a dialogue. Opening up the conversation shows the person you’re working with that you respect and value their expertise, encourages further collaboration, and often leads to a stronger final product.
5. Don’t give surprise critiques
No matter how excited you are to peek in on the progress, don’t surprise people with drive-by critiques. Their work might be in an amorphous stage, and your spur of the moment review may cause them to waste time sweatily defending ideas that they’ll likely soon discard. Skip this unnecessary stress and frustration by waiting to until the work is ready for review . Then set aside time to think through your feedback and schedule a meeting to discuss. This way everyone has a chance to mentally prepare.
6. Consolidate your feedback
Few things are worse for creatives than receiving a pile of feedback from an entire team. Collaboration can lead to creative breakthroughs, but a tangle of disparate feedback only leads to confusion. If multiple people need to approve the final product, gather and sort through their thoughts before sharing them with the designer or writer. Be especially mindful of eliminating conflicting comments, opinions that diverge from the stated objectives, and any other criticism that isn’t constructive. You should also be selective about whose input you solicit. Only incorporate feedback from relevant stakeholders. Then translate the edited comments into a concise document (bullet points are better than a string of long paragraphs) with straightforward next steps and timelines. Similarly, if several people will be meeting to discuss the current iteration, consider limiting the number of people giving feedback to no more than three. You may want to synthesize the team’s various responses ahead of time and translate them into a coherent agenda. After the meeting, follow-up with a document that summarizes the discussion, so that no one has to rely on their memory.
7. Don’t forget to explain what you like
An unfortunate thing happens when people get into critic mode: They often forget to mention what they like. Even when you think the project is nearly perfect, it’s easy to focus solely on what needs to be tweaked. Knocking out a list of changes can feel invigorating. But for the person on the receiving end, this can feel overwhelming and demoralizing. So it’s important to remember that discussing the successful elements is just as valuable as going over areas that need a bit more polish. They both help people know which direction to pursue or ditch. And, of course, hearing a few compliments just feels good. This isn’t to say that creative team members are delicate flowers who need to be handled with care. After working hard to get a project just right, a long list of changes can feel overwhelming to anyone on the receiving end. Acknowledging the time and effort they put into the piece and pointing out its strengths will help keep your working relationship healthy and morale high.
8. Be direct and honest
You might have heard that you should sandwich criticism between compliments . Although it is important to share what’s working well, you can toss the “sandwich approach” in the trash. It’s awkward, disingenuous, and more than a tad infantilizing. Starting with a compliment and then rattling off a series of complaints only to wrap things up with another compliment doesn’t take the sting out of the criticism. This pattern also makes it seem like sharing any positive feedback is simply a perfunctory duty that must be handled before getting down to the real work of the critique. Be kind, but don’t worry. You’re giving feedback to professionals. They won’t crumble under your critique, and they won’t take it personally if you don’t make it personal. Rather than forcing positive comments into prescribed slots, pay attention to your tone and wording. Saying that you found something confusing is far better than saying, “No one will understand this.” And, as any relationship counselor would advise, avoid “you” statements and instead say what the work itself is or isn’t achieving. This may be common sense to most people, but a little tact goes a long way. Remember that you and your creative team both want the work to be as strong as possible. They’ve invested a lot of energy and effort into their work and they deserve thoughtful feedback in return. By facilitating an open conversation, continually grounding your comments in the project’s objectives, and following some basic schoolyard etiquette, together you can elevate any project from good to great.
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Free Feedback Forms Templates
By Kate Eby | October 18, 2018
This article provides free, ready-to-use feedback form templates in Microsoft Excel and PDF formats, so you can gather information about your company, processes, products, or employees. Learn what questions to include and how to effectively craft feedback forms to get the answers you need to improve your company’s efficiency.
Website Feedback Form
Download Website Feedback Form
Excel | PDF
Use this template to evaluate feedback from customers based on their experience with your business’s website. Sections are included to gauge visits to the website, reasons for visiting the site, and whether or not the site meets a customer’s needs. This template also includes space for customers to rank their likelihood of recommending the website to others, as well as space to write any additional comments or suggestions. This template is available in Microsoft Excel and PDF to easily download and customize for your business needs.
Customer Feedback Form
Download Customer Feedback Form
Excel | PDF | Smartsheet
Use this template to gather feedback from customers who have engaged with your business, product, or service and determine their satisfaction with their experience. This template includes space for customers to rank their overall experience with your business’s service, as well as an open space to include recommendations to improve their experience. Use this template, available in Microsoft Excel and PDF, to constantly improve your business, based on your customers’ input.
Employee Feedback Form
Download Employee Feedback Form
Gain insight into what your employees like most and least about their current role. With space to document department and specific aspects of the job they like, this template offers an easy way to rate overall employee happiness. This template is available in Microsoft Excel and PDF formats.
Feedback Report Form
Download Feedback Report Form
This general, easy-to-use template is designed to acquire feedback for a variety of use cases from a multitude of people. The template gives you the structure of an efficient, targeted feedback form, with space to gather user information, like name and email, as well as an area to rate satisfaction levels and suggest additional comments. This template is available to download and use in Microsoft Excel and PDF.
New Employee Orientation Feedback Form
Download New Employee Orientation Feedback Form
Use this template to evaluate employee satisfaction in terms of their onboarding and training process. This feedback form includes space to gather information on every aspect of the onboarding process, from on-the-job training to department orientation. With questions designed to target the satisfaction levels of each employee, this template can provide insight into what is — and what is not — working in regards to your new employee process.
Employee Satisfaction Form
Download Employee Satisfaction Form
Use this template to gather feedback from employees to determine how satisfied they are as an employee at your company. With pre-written, targeted statements that employees can agree or disagree with, this template collects specific insight into an employees feelings about their role and the company overall. The answers they provide will help you determine what each employee is happy with, what they would change, and what dissatisfies them about their current role.
Training Feedback Form
Download Training Feedback Form
This template is useful when you need to gather information surrounding a particular training process. Use this template to assess the overall usefulness of the training, the location of the training, and the trainer or instructor. This template includes an area for training attendees to agree or disagree to targeted statements that determine whether or not the training was a success. This template is available in Microsoft Excel and PDF formats.
Interview Feedback Form
Download Interview Feedback Form
Use this interview feedback form to take notes and rate a job candidate during an interview. The template includes space to document the candidate’s name, position, past work experience, education or previous training, technical skills, and more. This template is designed to maintain consistent feedback during an interview that is easy to review post-discussion.
Student Feedback Form
Download Student Feedback Form
Assess and document a student’s overall satisfaction with a particular course or professor. Students can use this template to effectively evaluate specific aspects of a course or professor, such as knowledge level, preparedness, communication, alignment with expectations, and more. This template is available in Microsoft Excel and PDF formats.
Teacher Feedback Form
Download Teacher Feedback Form
This template offers an easy way to assess and document how a teacher is performing in their role. The teacher feedback form includes space to document the subject, grade, and content area(s) of the curriculum, as well as areas to comment on lesson plans, effectiveness of communication with students, appropriateness for age levels, and more. Download this template, offered in both Microsoft Excel and PDF formats, to gauge a teacher’s skill level and effectiveness.
Open House Feedback Form
Download Open House Feedback Form
Excel | Word | PDF
Use this free, downloadable template after an open house to determine how much a potential buyer liked the house, and gauge the likelihood of receiving an offer from them. With space to rate the exterior and interior of the house, location, price, amenities, and floor plans, this template offers a quick, efficient glimpse into the thoughts of a potential buyer after viewing a house on the market.
Event Evaluation Form
Download Event Evaluation Form
You can use an event evaluation for any type of happening and customize the form for internal team members or event attendees. Once you determine the information you want to collect, including which aspects of the event or planning process you want to review, simply customize the form to meet your needs.
What Is a Feedback Form?
A feedback form serves as an easy way to collect targeted feedback from your audience and provide a more valuable service to clients, customers, users, and employees. The most successful organizations depend on feedback to capture relevant information, grow their business, and create a constant stream of new opportunities, or improve existing ones.
Feedback forms allow you to improve all aspects of your business, including product, delivery, and user satisfaction. Since customers are the foundation of any business, it is important to take their feedback to heart, and address any pain points when necessary.
There are many compelling reasons to leverage a feedback form when gauging issues, assessing your business, and researching productivity and likeability. Feedback forms can do the following for your business:
Give people an easier way to submit feedback
Generate real-time reports that highlight key aspects where your business can improve, such as metrics and follow-up responses
Get to know your customers better through their responses
Gauge which issues customers are running into most often
Predict why customers aren’t converting
Gain customers’ trust by listening to their opinions
Determine how likely customers are to recommend your business to others, or promote you via their own social channels
Measure customer experience, and view that data against the expectations of customers
Rate usability of a web page, service, or product
Collect insights on the quality of the content on website, apps, or other communication platforms
Share information gathered from feedback forms with stakeholders
Determine how much effort is required to change the issues customers reported
What Should You Include in Your Feedback Forms
Feedback forms should offer a concise, user-friendly design that gathers the most important information from the person submitting feedback. A form should be uncluttered and easy on the eye in order to encourage users to engage with the form and submit information asked of them in a simple manner.
To do so, you must assess the type of information and feedback that you want. Here is a list of potential components of a feedback form that can help you gather the data and information needed to improve your business and processes:
Targeted Question s: The bulk of the information and data will originate here.
Comments or Suggestion Boxes : This functionality gives people the ability to submit their own unique comments that might not be captured in the questions provided in the form.
Contact Information : Use this information to pinpoint exactly who is submitting what information. This can lead to a better and more thorough analysis of the results, as well as a way to contact the person afterwards to update them on changes or thank them for submitting feedback.
Satisfaction Rating : This feature offers the most efficient way to gain insight into someone’s thoughts and takeaways from a business, product, or process.
Overall Experience Rating : Collecting a rating that delves into someone’s overall engagement with the product allows you to better analyze the pros and cons of the system currently in place.
How to Design a Feedback Form
Creating an effective feedback form requires a little work, and a lot of thought about the type of data and responses that you want to elicit from respondents. The best kind of feedback form is robust, yet easy to follow and user-friendly, and encourages each participant to thoughtfully answer each question.
Fortunately, building a feedback form doesn’t involve complex data. In fact, all you need is the ability to create questions that help you gauge how the business, product, or process is fairing in the customer’s eyes. Follow these steps to design the most useful feedback form that will actually draw out responses from participants.
Create an Uncluttered, Easy-to-Follow Space : Anything that appears confusing or hard to follow will deter people from answering the questions, which will skew or limit your responses. To combat that issue, make sure your questions are concise and any preformatted answers or rating scales are easy to understand.
Label the Form Fields and Ask Clear Questions : Place each question close to the answer field to reduce the time it takes for users to respond. This placement will decrease both time and frustration for the user.
Make All Fields Optional : Forcing users to answer questions can dissuade them from completing the form. By setting all fields as optional, you allow users to choose the questions the want to answer. After all, collecting some answers is better than none at all.
Create a Logical Flow of Questions : Ensure all the questions you ask are positioned in a logical order. For example, don’t ask someone’s overall experience rating before you ask about their position or job title.
Use a Form that Is Compatible with Both Desktop and Mobile Devices : In today’s world of on-the-go technology, you never know when people will be using their phones to access your forms. Create mobile-friendly forms that are easy to answer and complete on any device.
How to Make a Feedback Form in Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word offers a variety of premade customizable forms, ranging from forms for volunteers to job descriptions to meeting minutes forms.
To create your own feedback form in Word that fits your needs, follow these simple steps:
Open a new Microsoft Word document.
When prompted by the pop-up window that offers pre-formatted templates, navigate to the Search bar at the top right corner of the page. Type Forms to see the variety of available forms.
Select the template that matches the type of feedback form you want to create. For example, if you want to create a public speaking review form, select the form titled Public Speaking Peer Review Sheet .
Add or edit copy to this form. Note: Even if a form doesn’t perfectly match your needs, more than likely, you can simply edit the copy.
Save the template and send it to your targeted list of users or customers.
What Is a 360 Feedback Form?
Businesses use a 360 feedback form to evaluate an employee based on anonymous feedback from managers, team members, and staff. This feedback form provides consistent, authentic, and actionable career advice to a particular employee. Separate from a performance review , which occurs annually and is usually conducted only by an employee’s manager, a 360 review is done more regularly, and allows other team members to share their experience.
What Is a Student Feedback Form?
Enrolled students complete a student feedback form at the end of a course to provide feedback on both the course and the instructor. Students can reflect on the term and voice their opinion on different aspects of the course — responses offer the academic institution a foundation for decision-making, like if a course should be continued, if an instructor should be promoted, or if a course should be altered.
What Is a Training Feedback Form?
A training feedback form gives participants of a specific training the opportunity to reflect on the effectiveness and relevance of the training or instructor. Use the results of this form to both alter the training to fit the needs of the attendees and better train the instructor to increase the efficiency of the training.
Tips For Your Feedback Forms
Feedback forms are a necessary and helpful part of business processes, but the effectiveness of your feedback forms depends on the copy and formatting of the form. As you create your feedback forms, keep these tips in mind to ensure that you gather the best, more useful results.
Reduce the time it takes to complete the form.
Don’t make any field compulsory.
Make it as easy as possible to understand and complete.
Craft the right questions, and remember to be concise and limit jargon.
Limit the overall number of questions.
Ask questions that you don’t already know the answer to.
When in doubt, don’t ask the question.
Include an open field to submit additional suggestions or comments, and don’t use pre-selected answers for every question.
Create consistent rating scales, if applicable.
Use information you already know about the person receiving the form to personalize the experience.
Encourage customers to share how they want progress to be made.
Add intrigue throughout the form.
Never forget: The customer is doing you a favor by filling out this form, so include a thank you.
What to Do with the Feedback
Once you’ve received responses and gathered the relevant information, it’s time to analyze the feedback and create action items to address the feedback. The key to this process is to listen to the users and respond to their concerns, both to win over upset customers and improve the experience for existing or new users.
Look for patterns in responses and transform that data into actionable business decisions. Demonstrate to users how your product helps them, launch more features that meet the needs expressed in the form, and eliminate old features that don’t provide value.
After completing these steps, show users what you’ve done by regularly following up to demonstrate the influential changes in your business, product, or process. This extra step will bring the feedback process full circle, and demonstrate to the user that you care about their concerns, frustrations, and issues, which, in the long run, benefits your company.
Create Web-Based Feedback Forms with Real-Time Work Management in Smartsheet
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When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.
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Year 7 Creative Writing Feedback Sheet
Age range: 11-14
Resource type: Assessment and revision
9 December 2019
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A tick-box feedback sheet on creative writing for mid-ability year 7 students.
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