Our 4th-grade students took their first writing benchmark for the STAAR test just before spring break. After going through their pieces we decided that we needed to do a quick mini-lesson on prompts! We've taught the skills on how to write an expository essay, and our students used their best tools to write their piece on Hard Work, but we noticed that if they stated the prompt more clearly in their introduction and conclusion their point would be much clearer.
Do your students struggle with restating the topic or central idea correctly? Here are a few samples of modeling how to pick out the topic and main ideas. It only took once, and our students were able to do them on their own.
Sometimes, just a quick tweak in something your students are doing in their piece can make all the difference.