After years of immersion into Writer’s Workshop and 6+1 Traits of Writing, some of us are suddenly faced with a writing test consisting only of 30 minutes for producing a reflective narrative. I developed this writing template for my students to have genuine practice in such a test setting. It is not intended to replace instruction in quality writing techniques. But rather, a way to provide periodic practice in the 30 minute writing process in which previously learned skills can be organized and accounted for as students plan the piece that will become their final product.
Only five minutes should be allotted on test day to plan and organize the piece. The template guides the student in preparing the title, hook, thesis, rising action, and conclusion in the five minute time frame while keeping track of the writing elements (Simile, Personification, Alliteration, Metaphor, Onomatopoeia, Hyperbole, Show Don’t Tell, and Vivid Vocabulary) for easy revision and editing as they complete the final product. Of course, it will take much practice to be able to do this task within the five minute allowance.
Once completed, the template can enrich the student’s final product within the remaining 25 minutes of writing, as it contains all of the elements which assessors will be looking for when the final piece is evaluated. Revision and editing can be easily done as the piece is completed from the template.
Of course the students will not be allowed to have the template available to them on test day. However, by providing several trial runs throughout the year and more frequently as the test approaches, the students will develop automaticity in this particular style of writing.