This booklet is designed to explicitly teach students the following thinking and planning skills they need to unpack and meaningfully respond to essay topics on The Queen and Ransom:
1. Identify and define key words
2. Identify a conflicting idea
3. Write about the conflicting idea
4. Brainstorm ideas
5. Select best examples to discuss ideas
6. Group ideas and develop topic sentences
7. Plan and sequence body paragraphs
The booklet consists of eight, overlapping essay topics, beginning with a simple topic and progressing through to more complex topics. For the first topic, the planning steps are explained and demonstrated in detail and students are provided with scaffolding to complete the task. For each of the following topics, students are given less scaffolding and required to do more independent thinking and planning, consolidating the skills they practised with the first topic. Each successive essay topic is an incremental extension from the previous one: it both extends students by asking them to think about the texts from a different angle and provides explanation about the unique elements of the topic.
This booklet complements a weekly approach to teaching students essay response skills throughout a compare and contrast unit. It can be used both in class to explicitly teach and scaffold students to respond to essay topics or set as a homework task.
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