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Unpacking the Prompt

Evaluation October 2014
by

Mary Pat Williams

on 9 November 2016

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Transcript of Unpacking the Prompt

What might you think?
You are a fifth grade student, and the state writing test or another writing test has just been given out. You look down at a page filled with print. What is your next step? Do you have a process to approach this task? Discuss this with a partner for
two
minutes. Jot down your ideas.

What ideas did you share with your partner?
Pick questions used to focus your thinking when reading and writing.

Identify the main idea in a prompt and important details.

Complete a graphic organizer (chart) as a way to understand a prompt and what it is asking.

Review academic language.
Briefly discuss with a partner how you handled a writing prompt last year. Jot down your ideas.

Participate as I model “unpacking a prompt.”
Work with a peer to unpack a prompt.
Unpack one on your own. Circle key words and complete graphic organizer. Then write a topic sentence that demonstrates your understanding of the prompt.

Discuss whole group.

Exit Ticket: Read an unfinished prompt. You be the test maker and come up with a question that students could write about in an essay. Look for the verbs that will help you. Complete self-check rubric.

Pacman review


Academic Verbs
describe
evaluate
compare and contrast
justify
analyze
explain
Sample Prompt
Unpack this prompt
In the passage “Hope” by Karen Hess, prairie life changes in many ways. What causes the changes? Explain how the prairie landscape and the people change. Use details from both passages to support your answer.
Use our strategy to analyzed this prompt.
President Theodore Roosevelt believed that forests should be saved. Write an explanatory essay that describes how he showed his belief that students should be taught to protect trees and forests. Be certain to outline how President Roosevelt used reasons and evidence in his letter to support his point.

Now it's your turn to try on your own...
Find the most important verbs and what they are asking you to do.

Ask yourself the W questions. Which ones are the prompt asking?

Summarize in your own mind what the topic of the prompt is all about. Write it down.

Objectives
Pick questions used to focus your thinking when reading and writing in response to reading.

Identify the main idea in a prompt and important details.

Use a chart to find the main ideas and details in a prompt.

Unpacking the Prompt
Academic Verbs
analyze= break into its important parts
justify= use reasons to prove your point
describe=give details about a topic,setting, theme...
support=find evidence in the text
http://www.classtools.net/widgets/cycle_6/EVm0L.htm

http://www.classtools.net/pac/201410_L4TR8K
Exit Ticket

Read the following incomplete prompt. Then write a question for a student to write about in response.
How is "unpacking a prompt" like something that you do all the time in math class?
In the passage “Hope” by Karen Hess, prairie life changes in many ways.
What causes the changes?
Explain
how
the prairie landscape and the people change.
Use

details from both passages to support
your answer.
Questions

Why is it important to understand the meanings of academic verbs in prompts?
How is this process applied to math?
If you have trouble writing, how might you use the language of the question to help you when you write?
What might be a challenge for you in writing to the prompt?
What solutions do you have for unpacking a prompt?

http://www.classtools.net/mob/quiz_75/Prompts_FNRme.htm

Review
Does this make sense?

In the passages “Imagine” by Alex Porter and Kristin Lewis and “Hope” by Karen Hess, prairie life changes in many ways. What causes the changes? Explain how the prairie landscape and the people change. Use details from both passages to support your answer.
President Theodore Roosevelt believed that forests should be saved. Write an
explanatory
essay that
describes

how
he showed his belief that students should be taught to protect trees and forests. Be certain to
outline
how President Roosevelt used reasons and evidence in his letter to support his point.
Your principal has asked for suggestions for a class project to help your community. You think planting trees in your community would be a good project since you've been reading about forestry, the study of forests, and Arbor Day, which celebrates trees. You want to explain that this is the best project. Describe why you think this is so by including information from the text.
Why is it important to understand the meanings of academic verbs in prompts?

How is "unpacking a prompt" like something that you do all the time in math class?

If you have trouble writing, how might you use the language of the question to help you when you write?

What might be a challenge for you in writing to the prompt?

What other strategies or solutions do you have for unpacking a prompt?
Exit Ticket:
Incomplete Prompt

Highlight the important verbs you see in your incomplete prompt. Use academic verbs as you write a test question that a fifth grader could write about in response to this:
Exit Ticket Modeling
http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2012/03/state-assessments-%E2%80%94-unpacking-writing-prompts

This lesson owes an enormous amount to this author.
https://www.myaccess.com/myaccess/help_resources/Understanding_Prompt_Vocab_Prewriting_Handout.pdf

Key List of Academic Verbs
Unpacking the prompt: It is like panning for gold. You are looking for the nuggets that will help you figure out what you are supposed to write about.

Students use the Internet on an everyday basis for school research. While the Internet has a huge list of benefits such as quick and easy access to all sorts of information and lots of ways to communicate, it has some downsides too. To contrast, a few students become addicted to the internet. Other students spend so much time inside on their computers that they don't get enough exercise.

Essay Prompt:______________________________________________________________________
Students
use
the Internet on an everyday basis for school research. While the internet has a huge list of
benefits
such as quick and easy access to all sorts of information, it has some
downsides
too. To
contrast
, few students become addicted to the internet. Other students spend so much time inside on their computers that they don't get enough exercise.

Essay Prompt: Contrast the benefits and the downsides of kids' use of the Internet.
Find the most important verbs and what they are asking you to do.

Ask yourself the W questions. Which ones are the prompt asking?

Summarize in your own mind what the topic of the prompt is all about. Write it down.

Strategy
Your principal has asked for suggestions for a class project to help your community. You think
planting trees in your community would be a good project
since you've been reading an about forestry, the study of forests, and Arbor Day which celebrates trees. You want to
explain
that this is the best project.
Describe

why
you think this is so by including information from the text.
Exit Ticket Modeling
Does this make sense to you?
It also helps to think about what kind of writing that the prompt wants you to do.

Do they want expository? To explain?
Do they want persuasive? To convince?
Do they want narrative? To tell a story?
Identify key verbs.

Look for the W's of how, why, what, when, where..

Identify the main idea in a prompt and important details.



Unpacking the Prompt
Why?

You'll be writing essays to get jobs, to get into the armed services, to get into college...
Full transcript