Writing an Explanatory Text with a Focus on Style

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SWBAT write an explanatory text to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective organization and analysis of Act 4, scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet.

Big Idea

Writing isn't just about being "right," but about communicating an idea effectively to your audience.

Getting Started

5 minutes

Writing an Open Response

50 minutes

Together, we will review the prompt: "Come vial" Open Response. Then I will remind my students that they basically already know the answer to the question; we reviewed it extensively last class. Therefore, I, as the audience, am not really looking for the "right" answer. I expect the right answer (W.9-10.2). Instead, I am looking for an engaging response, one with style. They should think about:


  • interesting opening statement
  • rich vocabulary and meaningful sentences (W.9-10.2d)
  • clear, meaningful thesis (W.9-10.2a)
  • ways to fluidly integrate quotes (W.9-10.2b)
  • thoughtful commentary and analysis
  • a concluding statement that creates new meaning (W.9-10.2f)
  • establishing and maintaining a formal style and objective tone (W.9-10.2e)


We have been working all year on each of these elements. Therefore this assignment is not just about assessing their understanding of Act 4, scene 3, but about assessing the development of their writing. Of course, I also expect that this one-page response is organized and edited for correct spelling and grammar.


Here is a student example.

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

I will collect the open responses in the last few minutes of class. If students need more time, they can finish for homework, but I expect most students to finish within the hour.


For homework, students will complete this Dramatic Tension worksheet, which is already half complete. Students worked on the first half of the worksheet when we finished Act 2 of the play. Working on this worksheet in installments can be hard in the moment, but it makes things much easier in the end, when we look back at the text as a whole.