I have updated my ACE Short Constructive Response graphic organizer to meet the new STAAR English EOC Short Constructive Response part of the test.
Writing a short constructive response is tricky because the STAAR character limit is 475. My example is 469 characters. I had a difficult time cutting it down to fit that character limit, meaning students will find it difficult too. After using the graphic organizer to draft their response, I suggest having them type it in a Google Doc and check their character count. Then have them revise and edit it until it is 475 or less characters. You could have students compose a response in groups first and have them collaborate together in the same Google Doc to try to edit their response. Collaborating in a group allows them to bounce ideas off one another, receive feedback, and learn from each other. Groups with students of mixed abilities help make this successful. If the group has all weak writers, they will struggle to complete this and won’t learn from each other. Afterwards, print and paste the responses around the room and do a gallery walk (replace the names with group numbers so students are not embarrassed). This allows students to see other responses and to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. This strengthens their revising and editing skills when composing their own responses.
Afterwards, I would have them individually complete responses and see how they do on their own. You could repeat the gallery walk or you could select a few to project and evaluate together as a class (remove the names so students are not embarrassed). Or you could have students partner up and peer review each other’s short response before they revise and edit it.
Before they start writing their response, you could have them go through the text and highlight possible pieces of textual evidence they could use in their responses. Then have them rate that evidence with 1 being the strongest. Discuss how it’s important to pick the strongest piece of textual evidence to support their answer.
You could take it a step further by either putting them in groups to discuss their individual rankings or discuss their chosen evidence and rankings as a class. Discussing it allows them to confirm or correct their own choices and learn from their peers. I have included a copy of the Most Dangerous Game that students can use for this activity (it’s in the public domain), or you can use your own text and prompt.
I usually have them handwrite the rough draft on the Google organizer and I don’t let it leave my classroom so I can ensure they didn’t copy it from online or get someone else to write it for them. I usually have them type the final draft so they can practice typing it as they would on the online STAAR test. They can also use the character count tool for the final draft. See the state STAAR website for character limits as they sometimes change it. I did not include a rubric, as TEA has their rubric posted publicly online.
There is a digital copy of the graphic organizer and gallery walk page (it’s a Google Slide).
Attach the Google Slide to your Google Classroom assignment and select “make a copy for each student.” If you only want one of those graphic organizers, make a copy of the Google Slide and then delete the page you do not want. Rename the copy and use that in your Google Classroom assignment.
The digital gallery walk is great for putting all the responses a single Google Doc for them to view and rank. Be sure to replace names with numbers so nobody is embarrassed. On Google Classroom, attach the Google Doc with the student responses and select “make a copy for each student” if you want them to leave comments on each response about strengths and weaknesses. Or you can just attach the Google Doc responses for students to view and have them fill out the Gallery Walk paper (or digital copy).
Check out the state’s free resources and guidelines: