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Expansion Pack Activities

 

Though students won't receive our automated feedback or scores on Expansion Pack assignments, the content built into the Expansion Pack tasks is diverse, expertly-crafted, and flexible enough to fit into a wide variety of curricula. On this page, you will find ideas for using the Expansion Pack assignments in your classroom independent of other Revision Assistant assignments.

 

The Expansion Pack activities on this page are organized according to where in the writing process they might occur.  
Click the links below to see a specific section, or keep reading!

 

 

 


 

Pre-Composition Activities

 

  • Use prompts to have students practice identifying the key elements of writing tasks, such as verb, task, topic, purpose, format, etc. Students can mark these either with multiple colored highlighters, in a graphic organizer, or even with a key that includes annotations like underlining, circling, etc. Students could complete this activity for one prompt, for all the prompts in a genre, or across multiple types of prompts, depending on the focus of teacher instruction or immediate objective.
     
  • For source-based prompts, print out copies of the source texts for students. Have students work individually, in pairs, in small groups, or as a whole class to practice annotating or “talking to” the text. Evaluate which evidence could best support the thesis or refute a counterclaim, and which examples effectively address the demands of the prompt.
     
  • For source-based Analysis prompts, print out copies of the source texts for students. Have students work individually, in pairs, in small groups, or as a whole class to practice annotating or “talking to” the text. Look for particular author strategies as per the demands of the prompt (literary devices, tone, bias, ethos, pathos, logos, etc.) that could best support a claim related to the task.

 

 

 

Post-Composition Activities

 

  • Print students’ independent practice essays. Then, in pairs, in small groups, or as a class, deconstruct the prompt with students. Ask them to highlight key elements of the task in different colors (claim, evidence, etc.). Then have students identify those elements in their own essays using those same distinct colors (for example, green=claim, pink=evidence, etc.). This will allow students to see which parts of the prompt they have effectively included and which parts they are still missing.
     

  • Print students’ independent practice essays. Then, as a class or in small groups, highlight examples of rubric criteria or targeted skills and content within their essays. Look for elements such as the thesis statement or claim, well-chosen evidence, explanation of that evidence, counterclaim, etc.
     

  • Print students’ independent practice essays and then have them each cut their individual essays into sentence strips. Have students work in pairs or small groups to move around the pieces of their essays into the most effective organizational patterns. Consider providing a bank of common transitional words/phrases on another color of paper to insert into the essay to enhance the way the pieces of their essay work together for cohesion.
     

  • Print students’ independent practice essays and then have them each cut their individual essays into sentence strips. Provide students with a list of common organizational patterns with definitions and have them manipulate the pieces of their essay to match selected organizational patterns. As a follow-up, have a discussion about which organizational pattern was most appropriate for the task as it is described in the prompt or even consider how they might change the organizational patterns if the task were altered for a different purpose. This activity can be organized for individual students, pairs, or small groups.

 

 

 

Multi-Phase Activities

 

  • The prompts in the Expansion Pack Library can be used to simulate independent practice in a testing environment where students will receive no support or feedback from the teacher or Revision Assistant.

    Extension: This simulation can be expanded into a multi-day activity in order to help students review and revise their writing in preparation for testing. 

    • Day 1 -- Test simulation: students respond to a prompt in the Expansion Pack Library with no guidance from the teacher and no feedback from Revision Assistant.

    • Day 2 -- Print students’ essays that they wrote during Day 1. Deconstruct the prompt as a class, identifying the key elements of the task. Then ask students to evaluate their own essays for these key elements of the task or group students to peer review their essays.

    • Day 3 -- Have students return to the Expansion Pack composition space to revise their essays based on changes they made during the Day 2 workshopping time.

       

  • Using a prompt question from the Expansion Pack Library, ask students to work in pairs or small groups to brainstorm possible introductory paragraph elements. When students in each pair or small group have created a collective introductory paragraph, have them access the Expansion Pack composition space to begin writing. Each student from the pair or small group should begin with the same introductory paragraph, but then should work independently to complete the rest of the essay.
     

  • Using a prompt question from the Expansion Pack Library, ask students to work in pairs or small groups to brainstorm possible concluding paragraph elements. When students in each pair or small group have created a collective concluding paragraph, have them access the Expansion Pack composition space to begin writing. Each student from the pair or small group should work independently to write the essay, but should finish with the same concluding paragraph.
     

  • Print students’ independent practice essays. Then, working in pairs or small groups, have students switch papers with a classmate. Students should then review their classmate’s essay, paying attention to rubric criteria, sentence structure, word choice, spelling and grammar issues, etc. These issues can be addressed altogether, or students can focus on one issue at a time. After peer editing a classmate’s essay, have students review their own essays, revising based on peer feedback. Then have students return to the Expansion Pack composition space to type their newly revised essay.

     

  • Have students read a source-based, argument prompt and the associated text(s). Break the class into two teams, based on two positions on the topic. Have teams work to identify the best, most relevant evidence from the text(s) to support the team’s position.

    Extension: Now, have teams switch positions. Have them search for evidence for the opposing side and work collaboratively to develop ideas for refuting these potential counterclaims. Have each team share their ideas about evidence and counterclaims. Finally, have each individual student take a position on the topic and draft independent practice essays, incorporating the evidence discussed as a class, as well as any other ideas they may have.

     

  • Select one of the Expansion Pack Analysis prompts. Develop examples of summary statements and analysis statements, related to the text(s) and prompt question. Discuss a few examples of each and have students discuss the differences. Now, organize students into small groups. Give each group a set of examples of both summary and analysis statements. Have students work together to categorize summary and analysis statements.

    Follow-up: Assign a different Analysis prompt and have students write their responses independently. Afterwards, print students’ independent practice essays and have them use two different colored highlighters to identify the summary and analysis statements in their own work and revise as needed.

 

 

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