Friday, January 29


This coming Tuesday, Feb 2, the campus is going to shut down and you are going to take a mock STAAR writing exam. I guess we never got to do that last year, but what happens is that you will meet in a "testing" class for four hours to take a released STAAR test. The other grades go along like normal. I actually haven't heard the plans for Tuesday but what I've described here is how it's happened in the past.

You will be writing a STAAR essay. The STAAR essay is only one page. The new STAAR is done on computer, like you saw the other day, and you will be limited to 1,750 characters; about 350 words.

ThinkTANK was supposed to get you ready, but what I saw from the initial stages of your Mount Taylor essay, most of you were just writing one-paragraph responses and that's just because of the way ThinkCERCA is set up. 

This page, along with my STAAR page, should help you be ready for Tuesday.


Being able to write a good multi-paragraph essay for ThinkCERCA is a good indicator of how well you can write an essay for STAAR.

ThinkCERCA's "connect" starts you thinking about the topic. It can be used as your hook because it will get your reader thinking about your topic (and that's what a hook should do.)

The "summary" in ThinkCERCA focuses your introduction as you narrow to your claim. That's also what the transition in your introduction is supposed to do, so I always recommend using the summary as your transition.

And, of course, the "claim" in ThinkCERCA is a type of thesis.


How does this relate to STAAR? Like I said above, if you can write a good multi-paragraph essay for ThinkCERCA, you can write a good essay for STAAR.

And STAAR makes writing the introduction just as easy as ThinkCERCA does.

First, it gives you something to read about. This introduces you to the theme of your essay, and you can manipulate this to be your hook.

Then, it gives you something to think about which focusses your thoughts, just like the transition of your introduction

Finally, it gives your a prompt to answer (thesis) and write about.

From there, it's up to you to support your answer with evidence and examples.

Take a look at this.

The Assignment


Type an essay in a Google Doc in response to this prompt. This is exactly what a STAAR prompt looks like. Have (1) an introduction, (2) a well-developed body paragraph, and (3) a conclusion. Keep it under 1,750 characters (letters); about 350 words.