After teaching secondary ELA for five years, I noticed that many of my students struggled with all or some of the following:
- They didn’t know how to start their response, or they started it incorrectly.
- Some students never even answered the question.
- Some students didn’t include evidence to support their response.
- Many students summarized the evidence instead of explaining how the evidence supported their answer.
Because so many of my students were struggling with the same areas across all of my classes, I decided to create The S.A.U.C.Y Response Method, a brief constructed response strategy that addressed the issues my students were having, but also could be used as a writing strategy for high school students in general. Click on the image below to download a FREE copy!
Start by Restating the Question
The first step of this writing strategy for high school students is to help them start their response.
The S.A.U.C.Y Method calls for students to restate the question by using vocabulary from the prompt to start their sentence!
For an example, let’s use a sample prompt for the novel Of Mice and Men.
Prompt: What is your first impression of Lennie?
“My first impression of Lennie…
Answer the Question
Next, students answer the question.
“My first impression of Lennie is that he is very child-like due to his mental disability.”
To strengthen their response students must find evidence supporting their answer, emphasizing that they cannot start a sentence with a quote!
On page four Steinbeck writes, “Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly.”
Check for words/phrases
After noticing how many students summarized the quote instead of explaining how the quote supported their answer, I had them identify words or phrases in their evidence that helped to support their answer.
“imitated George exactly”
Your Response should be an explanation and not summarization.
Once students identify words or phrases from their evidence, they have to explain how those words or phrases support their response.
The phrase “imitated George exactly” shows Lennie’s child-like nature because children often imitate those they look up to or admire, and Lennie is acting just like a child copying everything George is doing.
Altogether the response would read:
My first impression of Lennie is that he is very child-like due to his mental disability. On page four Steinbeck writes, “Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly.” The phrase “imitated George exactly” shows Lennie’s child-like nature because children often imitate those they look up to or admire, and Lennie is acting just like a child copying everything George is doing.
After implementing this writing strategy in my classroom, I saw a huge difference in the responses of my students.
Many students draw a blank when trying to start a response and by having a simple reminder that they can use words from the prompt to help them, it took less time for them to figure out how they wanted to start their first sentence!
Before using this method, many of my students would have written, “The quote supports my response because Lennie imitated George.” for the “Explain” part of The RASIE Response Method.
The simple step of breaking down the quote to see the specific words or phrases that support their response really helped them to move from summary to actual analysis!
So, if you are struggling trying to teach students how to structure their responses, The RASIE Response Method is one of the best writing strategies for high school students you NEED to be using in you classroom!