Elaboration is one of the more difficult writing skills to teach. Repeated exposure to different examples is imperative. In this activity, students analyze twenty different examples of commentary and try to classify each as one of the six given types of elaboration or explanation : Fact, Example, Definition, Reason, Importance, or Process. It includes a handout/reference sheet that defines and gives an exemplar of each type and lists “look fors,” signal words or traits that will help students analyze samples. This can be used as a worksheet or as a task-card type activity. Instructions for both are included.
These commentary techniques are the same ones featured in my free writing tutorial on crafting body paragraphs (http://www.teachertube.com/video/body-paragraphs-short-version-448649); so you can use them in conjunction with other lessons or as a stand alone resource.