5 Best Lessons on Constructed Response
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5 Best Lessons on Constructed Response

Opinion Writing- Grade 4 - Palo Pinto

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STAAR Released Opinion Writing
Grade 4 Sample
Palo Pinto 

Feedback for Improvement

Topic: Palo Pinto Elementary
Main Reason 1: Students
Main Reason 2: History
Main Reason 3: Staff

What worked:

  • Organization- The essay includes an introduction, three main reasons, and a conclusion. The ideas are easy to follow and a clear focus is evident.

  • Introduction- The lead uses the technique of an amazing fact. This is followed by a topic sentence that includes the author’s main reasons for being proud of their school.

  • Conclusion- A hypothetical anecdote implies that you will have a good experience when you visit this school. The general restatement of the topic sentence sums up the author’s main opinion of the school.

Feedback with Prescriptive Lesson:

CHOOSE a Focus Skill: What skill will make the biggest impact for this writer?

Main Reasons- The main reason sentences are clearly stated. The 3rd main reason is combined with the 2nd main reason and is simplistic- “They have a lot of staff.”

Suggestion- If space is limited, consider focusing on only 2 main reasons. Otherwise, begin a new paragraph with each new reason. The Main Idea/Reason Sentence Starters provide several options to revise this sentence.

Lessons that support:

  • Section 2 Lesson 9: Generating Broad Yet Distinct Main Idea/Reasons
  • Section 2 Lesson 10: Alternatives to Boring, Redundant Main Idea/Reason Sentences
  • Section 2 Lesson 11: Revising Boring, Redundant Main Idea/Reason Sentences
  • Section 2 Lesson 12: Main Idea Blurbs into Sentences

Elaboration- There is evidence of specific details- “so many different empowering writers…writer’s ideas just splash on the paper…received an ‘A’ from the state” and “strict about the rules…not have a lot of events back then…now we have computers, language arts, and UIL”. Details with the 3rd main reason are not well elaborated.

Suggestion- Enhance each detail (nurse, lunch ladies, been around for a long time) with the detail generating questions—"What does it ‘look’ like? and Why is it important?”.

Lessons that support:

  • Section 3 Lesson 4: Writing Sentences Using Detail-Generating Questions
  • Section 3 Lesson 7: Using Detail-Generating Questions

Word Choice and Sentence Variety- Several phrases show a sense of vivid word choice— "splendid accomplishments…bizarre history…students that will amaze you…writer’s ideas just splash on the paper…80 years ago…rules were harsh…will doctor you up in seconds…don’t forget about…”. This allows the voice and personality of the author to shine.

Vocabulary could be further revised through the use of word referents to avoid repetition. (ie. school- educational facility, learning powerhouse, friendly establishment, welcoming institution)

Lesson that supports:

  • Section 2 Lesson 15: Word Referents


Download “Palo Pinto" Opinion Writing - Grade 4 Sample

Topics:Student Writing SamplesOpinion Writing