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Language Arts

Writing Composition GRADE 4


Acknowledgements: Ed Vara Deputy Director of Academic Services Jennifer Drumm Senior Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction Clee Upchurch Coordinator of Communication and Production Cindy Hamilton Coordinator of Teaching and Learning Stephanie Heinchon Elementary ELA Education Specialist Susan Diaz Secondary ELA Education Specialist Haley Stanfield Communication and Production Specialist

TEKS and STAAR example questions are copyrighted by the Texas Education Agency. Copyright © by the Texas Education Agency. The materials are copyrighted © as the property of the Education Service Center Region XIII and may not be reproduced without written permission of ESC Region XIII.

Instructional Planning Tool User Guide  Overview 

This tool is designed to support teachers in instructional planning, by providing a means to process the sampling of  assessed standards on the released STAAR items. Using this process, educators will:    review historical assessment data;    read and solve sample STAAR items;    analyze assessment prompts in order to consider the multiple steps required to generate a response;   anticipate varying approaches and steps students might take; and   reflect on his or her current classroom instruction.     The goal of this tool is to guide effective planning, including probing questions, and monitoring of student progress,  which support student success.    The Instructional Planning Tool is organized by the learning standards assessed on STAAR.  Each standard is labeled as  Readiness, Supporting, or Process.    READINESS STANDARDS:   are essential for success in the  

PROCESS STANDARDS:  will be assessed in context, not in 

current grade or course; 

year (although introduced in the 

isolation in the content areas of 

are important for preparedness for 

current grade or course); 

Social Studies, Science, and Math; 

the next grade or course;  

SUPPORTING STANDARDS:  may be emphasized in a subsequent 

may be emphasized in a previous 

support college and career 

year (although introduced in the 


current grade or course); 

necessitate in‐depth instruction; 

address broad and deep ideas. 

will allow for a more integrated and  authentic assessment. 

play a role in preparing students for  the next grade or course but not a  central role;  

address more narrowly defined  ideas. 

As you work through the tool, keep in mind that the intent is to help think through the instructional implications of  each standard. This tool provides an option to work through this thought process and can be customized to fit the  needs of each campus.  


Each booklet contains:      

all learning standards assessed on STAAR for a grade and content area;  table to insert state, region, district, and grade TAKS performance data;  sample STAAR items;   example solution steps;  reflection questions to assist educators in increasing the rigor of classroom instruction.  


Copyright©2012 Education Service Center Region XIII

Expository ■

Writing Composition Grade 4

Test Genre: The scaffolded prompt may be a distractor for some students who might potentially get wrapped up in

reading the information box. It is important to teach students how to navigate the scaffolding appropriately and see it as a springboard for thought and creativity.

Think/Analyze/Apply: Organization/Progression:

The organizing structure of the essay is clearly appropriate to the purpose and responsive to the specific demands of the prompt. The essay is skillfully crafted because the writer uses organizational strategies that are particularly well suited to the expository task.  Form/Structure: This paper clearly utilizes the expository form and doesn’t deviate into other genres (such as persuasive, narrative, etc.). The writer answers the prompt by using examples to explain why her sister is an important person.  Organized: This essay has two introductory sentences with a clearly stated central idea, many supporting examples and a concluding sentence that summarizes her sister’s special traits. The writer establishes a clear central idea. All ideas are strongly related to the central idea and are focused on the topic specified in the prompt. By sustaining this focus, the writer is able to create an essay that is unified and coherent.

 Central Ideas:

Each example ties back into the central idea that Elizabeth is special.

 Focus:

The writer is able to maintain focus by choosing examples that clearly exemplify why Elizabeth is special without adding unnecessary information.

The writer’s progression of ideas is logical and well controlled. Meaningful transitions and strong sentence-tosentence connections enhance the flow of the essay by clearly showing the relationships among ideas, making the writer’s train of thought easy to follow.

 Progression of Ideas:

The progression of the ideas reflect the skills of a novice writer attempting a new genre. The ideas do progress; however, they do so perfunctorily.  Transitions: In this format there was no need for formal or informal transitions; therefore, none were noted.  Sentence-to-Sentence Connections: The sentences connect due to the fact that they are all tied to the central idea.

Development of Ideas:

The development of ideas is effective because the writer uses details and examples that are specific and well chosen, adding substance to the essay.

 Details:

The details and examples all connect to the central idea that Elizabeth is special.

The essay is thoughtful and engaging. The writer may choose to use his/her unique experiences or view of the world as a basis for writing or to connect ideas in interesting ways. The writer develops the essay in a manner that demonstrates a thorough understanding of the expository writing task.

 Thoughtful/Engaging:

It is clear that the writer spent a lot of time reflecting on personal experiences, sifting through the examples to land on the most pertinent ones.

Copyright©2012 Education Service Center Region XIII Copyright©2012 Education Service Center Region XIII


Expository ■

Writing Composition Grade 4

Use of Language/Conventions:

The writer’s word choice is purposeful and precise. It reflects a keen awareness of the expository purpose and maintains a tone appropriate to the task. The word choice strongly contributes to the quality and clarity of the essay.

 Word Choice:

The writer understands the tone and word choice necessary for an expository essay. Instead of slipping into narrative techniques, she maintains an explanatory, conversational tone through the use of words and phrases that are precise (i.e., ‘grin,’ ‘giggle,’ ‘dying of boredom’).

Sentences are purposeful, varied, and well controlled enhancing the effectiveness of the essay.

 Varied/Well Controlled Sentences:

The writer uses simple, compound, complex and compound-complex sentence structures.

The writer demonstrates a consistent command of sentence boundaries and age-appropriate spelling, capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and usage conventions. Although minor errors may be evident, they do not detract from the fluency of the writing or the clarity of the essay. The overall strength of the conventions contributes to the effectiveness of the essay.

 Conventions:

The few spelling and usage errors do not detract from the flow and the overall effectiveness of the essay.

Instructional Considerations:

How do I currently teach this SE concept/content?

How do I need to adjust my instruction based on this analysis?

What formative assessment will I use to be sure it’s working?

Copyright©2012 Education Service Center Region XIII


Copyright©2012 Education Service Center Region XIII

Instructional Planning Tool - Grade 4 Writing Composition  

This tool is designed to support teachers in instructional planning, by providing a means to process the sampling of assessed standards on t...

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