Annotation Assignment: Annotating With Group Roles

Teacher instructions: Copy and paste these instructions into your own course to use with your students. Be sure to review the instructions before posting in your courses — you may want to make adjustments depending on how you plan to assess annotations or due to your specific discipline and/or assignment.

If you’d like to use group roles with your students, you’ll need to include group assignments for your students (which student name is responsible for which role) in your assignment instructions. If you are using Canvas, Blackboard Learn or D2L Brightspace, you can split the students into small groups of 4 and assign 1 student per role. Otherwise, you may want to assign more than 1 student to each role. It could also be helpful to rotate the roles between students throughout the semester.

The roles here are adapted from Parrott, H. M., & Cherry, E. (2011). Using Structured Reading Groups to Facilitate Deep Learning. Teaching Sociology, 39(4), 354–370.

Instructions for students

Instructions: Each student will annotate the document using one of the roles below. Follow the instructions for your assigned role and, based on that role, add at least 2-3 annotations to the document. Then, add at least 2 annotations in response to others (these replies do not need to follow the role instructions). You can review a quick-start guide for how to add annotations.

  • Discussion leader: Add questions to the reading for the group to discuss.
  • Passage master: Choose 2-3 key passages from the readings and summarize them in your own words.
  • Creative connector: Make connections between readings and other social/cultural ideas (feel free to use images, links to articles, videos, etc., in your annotations) and explain how these connect to the text. Review instructions on how to add images, links or videos to annotations.
  • Devil’s advocate: Thoughtfully question or challenge the arguments that are being made in the text.

When replying to a classmate, make sure to add to the conversation by answering their question or building on their response. Here are some ideas on how to start an additive response to a classmate:

  • What did you mean by …
  • Did you consider …/ You might consider …
  • I connect with …/ It made me think …

Important notes about annotating: 

  • Make sure you hit “post” after you complete your annotation, or else your annotation will not be saved.
  • Make sure it says “post to [this class]” and not “post to only me,” or else your annotations won’t be able to be reviewed.
  • If someone replies to your annotation, you will not receive a notification. Check back periodically to continue the conversation!