Keep Peer Response Afloat: Poetry Feedback Prompts

Ready... set... respond!

As a novice teacher, I threw my students into the peer-response deep end. I knew getting and giving feedback was an important part of the writing process, so we dove in. When my students flailed about in the feedback water, I was surprised. What they needed, I eventually realized, was a "feedback life preserver." A tool to keep both their comments and confidence afloat.  
Students don't start out as olympic feedback-givers. Like all important skills, constructive feedback needs to be taught, modeled, and practiced. When it comes to student-created poetry, the feedback waters are even tricker to navigate. Because poetry is so personal, students can feel especially vulnerable sharing their writing. And because it's subjective, students can have a hard time knowing what to say when they respond to a peer's poem.  

That's why I created my own "feedback life preserver" in the form POETRY FEEDBACK PROMPTS. (Click here for a printable PDF to use with students.)  

        • When you read your poem, I could really picture... because...
        • The words/phrases that stood out to me most were... because...
        • I like the way you arranged your lines/stanzas because...
        • I like the way you started your poems with... because...
        • I like the way you ended your poem with... because...
        • Your poem made me feel... because...
        • Your poem reminded me of... because...
These seven statements give students direction when responding to a peer's poem. They are aligned to the Common Core ELA anchor skills and encourage students notice key ideas and details, focus on craft and structure, and make connections. Each prompt includes the word "because" to help students hone the important habit of providing evidence for claims.  The prompts are worded with positive "I" statements to foster a safe, supportive interaction.  These prompts also pair well with my POETRY BITES prompts, which are designed to help students dig into close reading of mentor poems. (You can learn more about using POETRY BITES for close reading here.) 

When I started using POETRY FEEDBACK PROMPTS with my students, they felt more comfortable wading into peer response waters. The prompts kept them afloat, buoying their confidence as both givers and receivers of poetry feedback. 

I hope my POETRY FEEDBACK PROMPTS help your students glide through the feedback waters as well! 

About Michelle Schaub

Michelle Schaub is a language arts teacher and award-winning children's poet. She is the author of the picture book poetry collections Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market, (which won the 2018 Growing Good Kids Award and 2019 Northern Lights Book Award,) and Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections. She also wrote the bedtime STEM book in verse, Dream Big, Little Scientists. Her poems appear in several anthologies, including The Poetry Anthology for Celebrations and Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud.  Michelle speaks at conferences on the power of poetry to boost literacy. Find out more at:


  1. What a great idea! I'm not a teacher, but these types of prompts can help kids outside the classroom as well. Being able to say "I feel X, BECAUSE Y" is such an important skill for us ALL to master, in so many situations!

    1. So true, Rebecca! I even think adults in critique groups could use these prompts to help guide their feedback!

  2. This is a great activity to use at school visits. Thanks for sharing!


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