This Trick Will Change the Way You Teach Constructed Response


Editor's note: We are delighted by the way 6th-grade teacher and Scope advisor Kathy Walseman uses the Scope answer key to model constructed response! Check it out below—then try it in your classroom!


I find that modeling constructed responses really helps my students understand how to write these tricky answers. I noticed that Scope's very thorough answer key includes many terrific models. So, I began to share the answers with my students and found that their writing improved immensely.


What you'll need:

  • any Scope writing prompt (included at the end of most articles), such as this one
  • a Scope answer key (included with every issue of the magazine), such as this one
  • a projection device, such as an Elmo

writing a topic sentence, supporting a claim, text evidence, organization

30-40 minutes


Step 1
Students write an answer to a Scope writing prompt, such as this one from "War of the Worlds," the play from March 2017 issue of the magazine:


Step 2
Copy the answer from the answer key and project it for students to read.


Step 3
Have students compare the Scope response to their own.


Step 4
Analyze the Scope answer as a class. I have students analyze the topic sentence to see if it restates the prompt and/or can stand alone without the question and highlight text evidence in different colors depending on whether it’s a direct quote or a paraphrase.


Step 5
I ask students to write an exit ticket which states something they saw in the Scope example that they’d like to try to do in their next constructed response.






Kathy Walseman is a Scope advisor and a 6th-grade teacher in Dahlgren, Virginia.


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