5 Reasons to Assign Collaborative Writing

5 reasons to assign collaborative writing in the middle school and high school English language arts classroom
As a high school English teacher, I assign my students a quite a bit of writing assignments over the course of the year. Some assignments are quick 3-sentence responses, some are literary analysis paragraphs, some are narrative responses, and some are complete, multi-paragraph essays. In addition to assigning and assessing individual writing, I also assign several collaborative writing projects throughout the year.

While it is essential to assess student writing on an individual level, collaborative writing projects are extremely beneficial for students...and even teachers.

1. Built-in peer editing
When students work together to produce one well-written piece of writing, they take each other's’ best ideas and incorporate them into the final piece. Not only do students have two (or more) sets of eyes looking at the paper, but students also draft and revise as they go.

2. Less grading
When students partner up to produce one paragraph or one essay, that reduces the grading load in half! As an English teacher, I easily get more than 150 papers to grade at a time. When that workload is drastically cut in half, I can provide meaningful feedback to my students much quicker!

5 reasons to assign collaborative writing in the middle school and high school English language arts classroom
3. Students learn from one another
Teachers are not the only ones doing the teaching in a classroom. Students also teach one another, especially with group work. Assigning a collaborative writing assignment is a great way to help students learn from their peers.

4. Learn to collaborate
As much as some students loathe group work, it is a necessity. Many careers and jobs require people to work together. Assigning a partner essay provides students with another opportunity to learn how to collaborate to produce the best work possible. A collaborative writing assignment is another opportunity for students to learn to work together.

5. More individualized time
When students write collaboratively, teachers have more time in class to provide meaningful and individualized instruction. As students write their papers in class, there are fewer papers to read during those precious instructional minutes. This leaves you with more time to help students improve their drafts as they write.