how to teach 4th graders to write a good essay answer - ProTeacher Community


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how to teach 4th graders to write a good essay answer
Old 02-20-2010, 10:25 AM
 
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My next unit will be teaching 4th graders how to respond to questions that need a 3-5 sentence answer. It will be in response to something they've read..nonfiction usually. I've been working on narratives so long, I've gone dry on any "cute" or smart way to teach this.


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graphic organizer
Old 02-20-2010, 10:31 AM
 
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For our "extended responses" on our state testing, I train them using a graphic organizer. They restate the question, state a "key idea" to answer the question, use text support that proves their answer, and then state their own ideas as to how their key idea answers the question. I would attach it, but it is on my school computer.

Not cute, and not exactly fun for the kids, but once they get used to the format, their responses become much better!
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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my district uses a strategy called "TAG"...

T urn the question into a statement
A nswer the question
G ive details and examples

They can use this for any question or prompt. Even if the question is:

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

(T) For breakfast this morning I had (A) a bagel with cream cheese. (G) It was a little stale because I bought the bagels at the beginning of the week. That was okay, though, because I added a little extra cream cheese which prevented it from tasting too dry. Maybe next week I will only buy bagels to eat at the beginning of the week and switch to cereal for Thursday and Friday's breakfast.


The first few times my class does this, I model it for them. After those tries, I walk them through it orally, while they do the majority of the writing. I slowly release this responsibility. This is how we prepare for the state testing, where the reading passages all have open-ended questions that are not essays.
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Have you ever checked out Nancy Boyles? She offers great answer frames.
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I have two acros...
Old 02-20-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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I taught my kids the acronym, TRICK:
Topic sentence
References to the text
Inferences
Conclusion
Knowledge (Knowledge is just a reminder to check the work to make sure that knowledge is being demonstrated.)

I have also read about this acro, which I want to try next year, RACE:
Restate the question
Answer the question
Cite references/collect references (My kids will never accept "cite.")
Explain your answer

I am eager to try RACE next year, to see which is more helpful! I can base my four point rubric on either of these acronyms, and I feel that they are both good no matter the question. I just love them!

Also, here's another acro that I use at the start of the year, when students are getting acclimated to school, COPS:
Capitalization
Organization
Punctuation
Spelling

Good luck! It's been fun to see the ideas others have!

pg


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Hamburger paragraph
Old 02-20-2010, 06:43 PM
 
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Here's an oldie but goodie

http://www.vaniercollege.qc.ca/tlc/t...agraph(46).pdf

Do a google search --hamburger paragraph -- you will find lots of variations on this organizer. Probably something to suit your needs.

ps thanks for the other great ideas on this thread
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write
Old 02-27-2010, 06:46 AM
 
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Thanks so much for all the ideas. I am going to try them. Very good ideas!
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