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The staar Expository essay

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1 The staar Expository essay
a how-to reference guide

2 The prompt: 3 minutes Start at the bottom.
Read the writing prompt first. Underline key words in the writing prompt. Look up any words you do not understand. Read the explanation above the writing prompt second. Read the quote or example in the box last.

3 Deciding what to write about: 5 minutes
If you know what you want to write about, GREAT! Write down as many examples as you can for your idea. If you are not sure, list two or three possible ideas that relate to the writing prompt. Write down as many examples for each idea as you can. Choose the idea YOU LIKE the best. If absolutely NOTHING comes to mind, try one of the following: What would your best friend write about? If you were The Most Interesting Person in the World, what would you write about? What would Ms. Harrod (or some other awesome person you admire) write about?

4 Thesis statement: 5 minutes
What is your essay going to be about? Write a clear sentence that explains what you think. Add an explanation of WHY you think that. This is your thesis statement. Your entire essay will focus on this statement; each example will be clearly tied to this statement. Make sure your thesis statement is directly related to the writing prompt. If it is not, go back and rewrite the thesis statement.

5 Plan your essay: 5 minutes
Choose your strongest example or two strongest examples. DO NOT USE MORE THAN TWO EXAMPLES! Write down as many details as you can about each example. Write down how that example relates to the writing prompt. Make a brief “road map” for your essay: what will each paragraph contain?

6 Write a rough draft: 15 minutes
In your testing booklet, write a rough draft of your essay. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!!! Start with your thesis statement. Jump right in discussing your example. Your second paragraph should include as much detail as possible about the example, stopping to explain how this relates to your thesis periodically. Your last paragraph should provide closure to the example, show how it explains your thesis, and create a lasting image for your reader. DO NOT CENSOR YOUR WRITING DURING THIS STAGE! Write whatever comes to mind.

7 Revise: 10 minutes Is your thesis statement clear? Do all ideas in the essay clearly relate to the thesis? Depth: do you have enough detail? Use the “explain it to a five year old” test. Do your ideas progress logically? Does the essay follow a logical order? Do you have more than one paragraph? Are your paragraphs indented? Transitions: does the essay flow from one idea to the next? Word choice: do you use words that are meaningful and specific? Sentences: do you have a combination of short and long sentences? Are there any run-on sentences or fragments? ADD or REMOVE information where you need to. Write it directly above the line on your rough draft.

8 Proofread: 5 minutes All in past tense?
Commas with coordinating conjunctions? Subject-verb agreement? All words spelled out? End punctuation? Capital letters where they are needed? All words spelled correctly? Make corrections directly on rough draft.

9 Final draft: 5 minutes Carefully copy your rough draft onto the final draft paper (or type carefully into final draft section on computer). Do not rush the copying process. Be sure to include all revision changes you have made on the rough draft. When you are done copying the final draft, read through it ONE MORE TIME to catch any final mistakes.

10 Now do it all over again There will be two writing prompts on the STAAR test. One is graded; one is a “field test.” Treat each essay as if it were the graded one. Allow one hour for each essay.

11 The staar Expository essay
a how-to reference guide

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