Group Annotations Leading to Individual Critical Reading Reports

By Rachel Rigolino of SUNY New Paltz

Description #

The theme of my Composition class is “Issues in Higher Education,” and at the beginning of the semester, I want students to do some background readings before choosing a research topic. I choose 7-10 articles, many of them scholarly, on a variety of topics related to higher education. Then I break the class up into groups of 2-4 (depending on the size of the class) and assign each group one of the articles to annotate with Once they’ve annotated, each student will take those annotations and use them as the basis of a 2–3-minute virtual critical reading report on the article. Finally, students are required to watch the critical reading reports by two students in two different groups. This helps the students know about at least potential topics they might wind up choosing.

Annotating Scholarly Journal Articles & Creating Your Individual Critical  Reading Reports 

Process  #

Step 1: #

Each group is provided an article to read about a current issue in higher education. The student is responsible for reading the article they have been assigned. 

Step 2: #

Each member of the group will add at least 6 annotations on the article, spread out across the entirety of the article (in other words, don’t stop at page 2).  

Follow this guideline for annotating (3-2-1): 

  • Leave 3 annotations on sentences/passages of the article that you found surprising and/or taught you something new about colleges/universities.  
  • Leave 2 annotations on sentences/passages of the article that wound up confirming what you already knew about colleges/universities. 
  • Leave 1 annotation on sentences/passages that you found confusing or troubling in some way. 

Step 3: #

When they are finished, they should leave 2 replies to the annotations made by other members of your group. 

Step 4: #

Using the annotations that each group has created; they should create a 2–3-minute virtual presentation on the article they have read.  

Required topics to discuss in the presentation:  

The Rhetorical Situation 

  • Author: Who is/are the author(s)? What credentials does/do the author(s) have (they may have to do a Google search)? From the evidence in the article/text, what could you tell about the author’s point of view regarding higher education and/or the topic the author is writing about?  
  • Audience: What kind of audience was this text written for? How could you tell? Is this an academic/scholarly article or text? Genre of Text: Is it a popular article or a scholarly text? Another kind?  
  • Purpose: What is the purpose of the text? (to entertain? persuade? inform? analyze? more than one purpose?)

Main Claim/Thesis and Supporting Ideas:  

  • What is the author’s main claim(s)? What evidence (data/information/argument) does the author provide to back up the claim?  
  • What do you think of the ideas that the author(s) put forth? Do you agree with them or not? Explain.  
  • How might someone use this article in a research paper? 

Production Notes: 

  1. When you record your presentation, be sure to put the article on the screen and scroll though it as you talk. 
  2. Please follow my directions about closed captioning your virtual presentation (it’s really easy in Panopto, and I’ve provided you with directions). 

Step 5: #

Post the URL of your presentation to the appropriate discussion board area. 

Step 6: #

Watch the virtual presentations made by two students from two different groups. Leave a 4+ sentence reply on the discussion board, telling each student what you learned from watching their presentations.

Grading Rubric for Annotations #

CriteriaExceeds (A)Meets (B)Approaches (C/D)Does not Meet (F)
Thoughtful participation in the group annotation in a timely manner
Student exceeded the number and type of annotations that were assigned.

Annotations demonstrated a  
thorough, sophisticated  
understanding of the text.  

The annotations were  completed in a timely  manner and met the  deadline.
Student completed the number and type of annotations assigned.  

Annotations showed an  
understanding of the text. 
The annotations were completed in a timely manner and met the  
Student completed the required number and type of annotations, but the annotations were very basic, and not all of them demonstrated an understanding of the text.  

The annotations were completed in a timely manner and met the deadline.
The student did NOT complete the required number of annotations or did NOT complete any annotations. If the student did, the annotations were unclear or not on point. 

If the annotations were completed, they were so late that they were of no help to other members of their group.

Grading Rubric for Virtual Presentations #

CriteriaExceeds (A)Meets (B)Approaches (C/D)Does not Meet (F)
Virtual ReportStudent created a  
virtual presentation that met all the  
requirements and  
demonstrated a  
sophisticated analysis of the article.  

The virtual  
presentation was.  
completed in a timely manner and met the deadline.
Student created a virtual presentation that met all the  
requirements and demonstrated a 
solid understanding of the text.  

The virtual  
presentation was completed in a  
timely manner and met the deadline.
Student created a  
virtual presentation that did NOT meet all the requirements and/or was difficult to follow. The  
presentation was.  
mostly summary  
without much  

The virtual  
presentation was  
completed in a timely  manner and met the  deadline.
Student did NOT submit a virtual presentation and/or created one that was so poorly made that it was difficult to follow.  No analysis of the article was evident.  

If the virtual presentation was  
completed, it was late and not posted in time for other students to watch and respond to.

Sample Reading #

Goselin, Gabrielle M. and Nicolette P. Rickert. 2022. “Mental Health Symptoms Predicting American College Students’ Academic Performance: The Moderating Role of Peer Support,” Psi Chi: The International Honor Society in Psychology, 27(4),