In my classroom we are all about explicit strategies, not just for reading comprehension but also when it comes to writing. Reading and writing strategies are taught early on in the school year, and then we continuously spiral them throughout the year as students dive deeper and deeper into how to leverage them effectively. This approach to teaching and learning provides everyone with a common language, which helps in stimulating collaboration amongst students and a positive classroom culture. (This method is even more beneficial when the same strategies are utilized across multiple classrooms and grade levels.)
Awhile back I was looking for a strategy that could help my students with open-ended responses to texts, and I came up with iAsc (a play on iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.):
- introduction: preview what the response will be about
- Answer: answer all questions
- Support: support each answer with evidence and examples
- Conclusion: remind the reader what the response was about
Each answer starts with an introduction and ends with a conclusion. Sandwiched in between are multiple paragraphs, usually 2-3. Each one of these paragraphs contains an answer along with its support (or evidence). It is explained to students that the level and quality of support is really what distinguishes a good answer from a great answer. An answer’s support can include direct quotes from the text, text evidence put into a student’s own words, and possibly different types of connections (text to self, text to text, text to world). As students become more and more comfortable with the iAsc strategy, they grow skilled at being able to adapt it to unique situations/questions to which they must respond, such as answering a question in which they must analyze two texts at the same time, rather than just one.
Below are three versions of our iAsc template. Think of them as graphic organizers. Students use them to collect and organize their work. Then, they create a final answer in the form of multiple polished paragraphs.
- Printable form, for students to complete with pen or pencil
- PDF form, for students to complete electronically
- Google form, for students to complete on Google Drive (shareable with teacher and/or other students)
Here is a link to a printable version of the iAsc poster. Feel free to use it, and make sure to share what strategies your students use for open-ended response!
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