My English I students were struggling with creating and developing specific, detailed, concrete examples for their expository essays. I created this mini-lesson to help them identify and differentiate between hypothetical, abstract examples (BORING & BAD!) and specific H-E-L-P examples (YAY-AWESOME!)
1. Review what a STAAR prompt looks like and identify which part actually tells us what to write about.
2. Rewrite the prompt in the form of a question.
3. Brainstorm SPECIFIC H-E-L-P (History, Experiences, Literature-Books, Movies, TV, Pop Culture-current events/issues, famous people, etc.) Examples.
4. Use the examples to formulate a thesis (or "answer" to the prompt.)
5. Turn the page and discuss the difference in hypothetical and concrete. You may want to list words that make an example hypothetical (perhaps, maybe, could, would, will, imagine, etc.)
6. Have the students highlight hypothetical words OR specific details (dates, places, facts, past tense) and identify which example is hypothetical and which is concrete.
7. Lastly, have the students use their top 8 H-E-L-P examples that THEY know a lot about (my kids already wrote theirs on their STAAR Review Bag) and pick which ONE of the 8 they could use to support the thesis statement. They will write a body paragraph using their example.
8. REPEAT for the second prompt.