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How do you add more elaboration to Yes, MA’AM?
january 28, 2020
Color-code the constructed response
Highlight all four sentences of a basic Yes, MA’AM response. Use one color (e.g., orange) to highlight the “M” my-thinking sentences; this would include the first sentence of the constructed response and the final explanation at the end. Then introduce a second color (e.g., green) for all “A” author-evidence sentences.
Point out that this results in two sentences per color. This is a good foundation, however, a strong response would have more of the student’s own thinking, more elaboration, more explanation—more orange.
Whether students quote the “green” initial author evidence or paraphrase it, it must be followed by “orange” elaboration. Evidence can’t stand alone. Consequently, introduce the concept of elaboration and that it comes in follow-up sentence(s) after each sentence of evidence.
Elaborate & explain more
Remembering that the elaboration sentences represent Me & My thinking, teach students how to articulate their thoughts into words. Explicitly provide techniques for elaborating on evidence. These might include:
- Restating the evidence in more plain terms (e.g., In other words… This means…).
- Relating evidence with an example or simple scenario (e.g., This is like…).
- Emphasizing the significance (e.g., This is important because…).
In the end, this heavier-orange product includes more of the student’s thinking than the author’s evidence—which is the goal on standardized assessments.