ELA: Constructed Response Alphabet Soup

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With an increased focus on constructing high-quality responses to text-dependent questions, the Internet is abuzz with acronyms to help students tackle the Idaho Core Standards, but what do they all mean?

alphabet soupR. A.C.E. – Restate, Answer, Cite, Explain.

By far, this is my prefered writing framework for helping students master the Idaho Core Standards. I’ve made a student-ready Prezi, Haiku Deck and handouts for teachers that can be downloaded and used with both elementary and secondary students.

O.R.E.O. – Opinion, Reason, Example, Opinion.

If you’ve been on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen this one! Teachers at Mullan Trail Elementary have been working with this framework and I’ve tried it a few times for short paragraphs at the elementary level. This Prezi by Heather Ramsey does an excellent job of presenting the basic idea behind O.R.E.O. (And it never hurts to have a box or two around to motivate writers!)

S.P.A.M. – Situation, Purpose, Audience, Mode.

This one is fairly new to me, but provides a framework for helping students analyze a writing prompt to determine the best response.  S.P.A.M. is designed to help students understand the situation presented , why they are writing,  and who they are writing for. I like this framework as it also encourages students to attend to very precise directions about how they are to respond. (ie. letter, email, article, essay.) For more information check out this blog post by The Brown-Bag Teacher.

R.A.F.T. – Role, Audience, Format, Topic.

R.A.F.T. is a strategy that has been around for sometime and  is best suited for persuasive writing rather than argumentative writing as it is intended to help writers see situations from different viewpoints. Reading Rockets has a wealth of lessons and resources for using R.A.F.T. with students.  For secondary teachers, readwritethink, has writing templates, sample lessons, and suggestions for teaching R.A.F.T. in the classroom.

Bottom line? Students are most successful when they have a strategy to fall back on. Pick one framework to teach explicitly and then continue practicing every time students write. By this time next year, students will be much more confident in their ability to construct responses to written questions and prompts.

Do you use a different writing framework? Let me know about it!


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