I noticed one of the hardest skills for my students to master is the ability to draw a conclusion in a short answer type question. I tried explaining that a conclusion is just an inference that needs more evidence to support it, but even then I still got answers like “The character Bob is annoying because I didn’t find him interesting.” Finally, I created a template for my students to use when answering these types of questions which became these notes.
Students first learn to identify what type of conclusion they are being asked to draw (there are two common types). From there they learn the basic answering template. Once they have the template down, I used it to transition them into creating full paragraphs and eventually strong body paragraphs for essays.
This particular set of notes teaches students to identify the type of question being asked and how to create and complete the actual answering templates. I will be posting additional resources that use these notes, but you can also apply this idea to any current novels your class is reading for additional practice with the skill.
Hint For Use: While we were practicing the skill, I often had students not only write their answers using the template, but respond verbally to questions using it as well. Once they had the concept down (conclusion + text evidence + explanation) I was less strict about their wording provided they covered the key points in their explanation. This worked for both my 6th and 8th graders, although the 6th graders needed more opportunities for practice since they were newer to the skill.