I wrote my comments a completely different way this year than I have in the past. It’s been usual for me to sit down and agonize over the 45+ individual comments, and write each one at a single sitting, along with a comment for each other person in the class. This year, I went about it rather differently. I used a method I found on a website called the “Snowflake Method“.
The snowflake method works basically like this: Write a sentence that tells the overall story you’re trying to tell. Then write a single sentence for each major section of your overall structure. Then write a sentence for each paragraph within each major section. Then write a sentence for each of those paragraphs, and then another, and then another. In essence, it’s just like the fractal pattern used to generate this shape, the Koch Snowflake. Except, of course, that you’re doing it with written sentences and not triangles.
So far so good.
In any case, I went through all my comment files, and wrote a single sentence for each kid. Then I let it go for a couple of days, because it was the end of school and I was busy. Then I went back through each of the comment files, and added a couple of ideas to each of the comment files. Then a couple of days passed. I went back, and rewrote those ideas into sentences.
OK, parts of it were agonizing. Writing comments is never fun, under most any circumstances. Writing the last two or three were really challenging, because I saved the comments that were the hardest for last. But I still felt like the process went more smoothly and more cleanly than it has in years. I’m definitely going to try this again in the fall, when my school tends to write their hardest and most detailed comments.
See if it works for you!