Drill 3: Everything is a Writing Opportunty

10 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT answer questions completely with specific details that are relevant to the text.

Big Idea

"Because she was tired." Does this seem like a reasonable answer to you?


5 minutes

Today is an extension of the justification lesson. Not only do my kiddos need to prove where they found the answers in a text, they also need to fully explain themselves when responding. To kick off the lesson, I'll pass out the two response examples to each table and have them think about the following questions:

What are the major differences between both of these responses? 

This should be self explanatory for the kids, but it's a perfect example of what we see every day. I want the kids to be able to tell me that we can understand what was asked in the longer response and have an idea of what has happened in the story. The longer response shows that the student referred to the text. The one sentence response doesn't tell us anything and doesn't show us that the student understood the text. 

In our lesson today, we'll discuss how everything is a writing opportunity. I can use any written piece, including your short responses, as a grade for writing. This shows me your thought process and how well you can form a thought or idea. Writing should always be organized no matter what the assignment. The longer response is not better simply because it's long. It states a topic and uses details and explanations to support that topic. All of our writing should follow the same format.


15 minutes

I've used lots of things over the years to show my kids the expectations for responding to texts, but this teacher has quite a few free resources that work pretty well. I really like her evidence based terminology resource as well. Here is her pdf file. 

I also like a variation of the ACE acronym. Answer the question, Cite the text and Explain. The one I prefer is RACES, which asks the students to Restate the question first and Sum it up last. There are a lot of different ones out there, but this one seemed to work best for my kiddos because it reminds me of basic paragraphs. Restating and answering the question is the topic, citing text are your reasons or details and explain is the support for those details. Finally we conclude by summing it up. 

We're going to look at a strategy to help you write acceptable responses to open-ended questions. Once we read through the strategy, I want you to think about two questions. 1. Why would this strategy be helpful when writing answers? 2. How does this strategy relate to writing?

The kids should be able to tell me that the strategy breaks down the steps in writing a clear answer and that the strategy is set up just like the basic paragraph. 

Everything you write in this classroom should be an opportunity for a grade. Whenever you write a short response, I expect it to be organized using the RACES strategy. Any piece could double as a content grade and a writing grade. 

Now let's dig a little deeper into citing the evidence. Here are some examples of how to do this. 1s tell 2s if this seems like it will be difficult. 2s tell 1s if you agree/disagree and why. 

Let's practice this together. First, I'd like you to go back in your notebook to the story, "Shades of Silence." That was from our justification lesson. We'll all take a few minutes to reread the story in order to answer a question today. We'll make sure we use the RACES strategy and make sure we're using evidence based terminology in our response. 

Here's my think aloud and modeling for today. It's a little lengthy, but shows about how long the mini-lesson would take. My mistakes are genuine and I like to make sure the kids see those when I model my thought process for them. 

Guided Practice

20 minutes

Now it's time to hand over some responsibility to the kids. 

Today I'd like for you to read A sudden Slice of Summer in your groups and respond to the following task: Describe how Susannah feels about winter and snow by the end of the story.

When you work in your groups, be sure to underline the information that you think will help you respond to this task. 

I will pull a small group of kids at this point as there are a few in my classroom that I already know struggle a little bit in reading. We've gotten through some assessing by this point and I got to really get a good look at some of my kiddos during the Read Like A Reader drill from a few days ago. I just want to be there for reading support if necessary with this group of students. I can at least check in after each paragraph they read and be there to help structure that writing piece.