Short Answer Responses

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The most important elements to a short answer response (one-paragraph answer) are (1) the answer, (2) the evidence, and (3) the explanation.

(1) To begin, turn the question into a statement:

ex: What was the original purpose of the quilts?

      The original purpose of the quilts was to keep everyone warm at night.

(2) Next, you need to find evidence from the text to support your answer. Basically, what did you read that told you (and made you think) the answer to the question?

In the poem, we find these lines:

they were just meant as covers

in winters

as weapons

against pounding january winds

You can put your text evidence in your topic sentence (answer):

    The quilts were originally "meant as covers in winters."

or it can be two sentences:

     The original purpose of the quilts was to keep everyone warm at night. Lines one and two of the poem state: "they were just meant as covers in winters."

(3) You will always need a final sentence to explain and/ or sum up your answer.

     The original purpose of the quilts was to keep everyone warm at night. Lines one and two of the poem state: "they were just meant as covers in winters."  Later in the poem, the author gives a deeper meaning to the quilts, but originally, they were just to provide protections from the cold.

*This question was actually a two-part question, so an answer would look like this:

What is the original purpose of the mother’s quilts? Why does the speaker find deeper meaning in them? Cite text evidence to support your answer.

     The original purpose of the quilts was to keep everyone warm at night. Lines one and two of the poem state: "they were just meant as covers in winters."  Later in the poem, the author gives a deeper meaning to the quilts. She writes about lounging on her mother's arm as she quilts and that her mother was a "river current" and a "caravan master... delivering.. testimonies," memories of her childhood. Even though the quilts were originally just protection from the cold, they came to have a deeper meaning for the poet.

Your ability to write a Short Answer Response is the most important skill you should master (second only to reading). 

If you do an internet search on "Short Answer Response Strategies", you will find a lot of opinions on how to do write them. 

 

You will find several acronyms to identify the content of a Short Answer Response (SAR), but they are all variation of the same theme.

1st. Turn the question into a statement and answer. Some call it "restating the question"; I call it "Making the Question Part of Your Answer" or MQA.

2nd. Provide evidence from the text that support your answer. Don't just copy-and-paste a sentence or two, embed your text evidence in your own sentences.

You know I don't like first person in your answers, and I don't like writing to be obvious (In the text, it says...); however, sometimes a sentence stem comes in handy. 

Try these for citing your evidence:

     o The text states…
     o According to the writer…
     o The evidence in this section…
     o The character’s feelings are shown by these statements…
     o For example, the passage states…
     o As quoted in the passage…
     o As the selection implies…
     o I can probably assume from the author’s words that…
     o After reading the passage, I can infer…
     o Based on the information in the text, I can conclude…

3rd. Elaborate/ explain your evidence.

Here are some sentence stems for transitioning to your elaboration:

     o These facts indicate that…

     o These facts demonstrate…

     o The author is trying to portray the character as…

     o This character (or event) is similar to…

     o This character (or event) is different from…

     o This is a good example of… because…

     o His actions were motivated by…

     o It appears that… caused… to happen.

     o The most important…

4th. Conclude your answer so it doesn't just stop. I like the concept of a concluding sentence being a sentence that sums up/ restates your point. 

You should have read "Oranges" by Gary Soto at some point. Here's a framework for answering a question about imagery:

Prompt: Explain how the imagery in the poem reflects the boy’s feelings and impressions.

 

 

At the beginning of the poem, the weather is [conclusion about the weather], as seen in the lines [line numbers]: “[quoted lines].”  As the speaker nears the girl’s house, the line ”[quoted line]” shows us [explanation of quoted line]. As the poem continues, we see more light and warmth in the lines: “[supporting textual evidence]" which cause the boy to smile, indicating he is [fill in the blank].

At the end of the poem, the orange symbolizes [fill in the blank], [fill in the blank], and [fill in the blank], showing his feelings toward the girl.

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This paragraph demonstrates

the five elements of TREES.

      Rick Riordan uses direct and indirect character-ization to help the reader fully understand Percy Jackson in The Lightning Thief. One way is through Percy sharing his inner thoughts. For example, Percy says, "Am I a troubled kid? Yeah, you could say that" (Riordan 1). The reader can infer that Percy has problems at home and at school. Knowing this about Percy helps the reader understand the main character much better.

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We can also use the acronym TEEC:

  • Topic Sentence

  • Evidence (textual support) / Examples

  • Explanation (reasoning) / Elaboration

  • Conclusion

You might also see "ACE" which is just "RACE" with out the "R".

Short Answer Responses

A short answer response is not just one sentence. 

It is a short paragraph with three parts.

First, read, understand, and answer the question.

How does Malala respond to the closing of her school? Use specific examples from the text in your answer.

Malala was determined to continue her education when the Taliban closed her school.

Second, provide proof (evidence) from the text that supports/ defends your answer. 

Even though she was eleven years old, she didn't want to stop learning. "I will get my education if it's at home, school, or somewhere else", she said (paragraph 5). She was determined to fight for her and other's education (paragraph 4). Malala also stated that the Taliban can stop them from going to school, but can't stop them from learning, which shows how much dedication she has.

Finally, conclude your answer with a sentence or two that wraps up your point.

Despite the devastation she felt and the tears she shed, Malala continued to fight for girls' education. Without a doubt, she is a true hero.

Combined, the parts of a Short Answer Response

 would look like this.    

        Malala was determined to continue her education when the Taliban closed her school. Even though she was eleven years old, she didn't want to stop learning. "I will get my education if it's at home, school, or somewhere else", she said (paragraph 5). She was determined to fight for her and other's education (paragraph 4). Malala also stated that the Taliban can stop them from going to school, but can't stop them from learning, which shows how much dedication she has. Despite the devastation she felt and the tears she shed, Malala continued to fight for girls' education. Without a doubt, she is a true hero.

 

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  1. When does a person become an adult? Why do you think so?

  2. If could change one rule that your family has, what would you change?

  3. What is something that makes your family special?

  4. Of all the things you are learning, what do you think will be the most useful when you are an adult?

  5. Are you a good friend? Why do you think so?

  6. How would the world be different if animals could talk?

  7. Would you cheat on a test if you knew you would not get caught? Why or why not?

  8. If you could grow up to be famous, what would you want to be famous for?

  9. If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

  10. What is the best gift you have ever given? Why was it so special?

  11. What is the hardest thing about being a kid?

  12. If you were a teacher, and the kids in your class would not listen to you, what would you do?

  13. Where is your favorite place in the world?

  14. If you could give one gift to every single child in the world, what gift would you give?

  15. If you could travel back in time three years and visit your younger self, what advice would you give yourself?

  16. What five words do you think most describe you?

  17. If you could invent something that would make life easier for people, what would you invent?

  18. When was a time that you felt lucky?

  19. What do you think would be the hardest thing about being blind?

  20. If you could make one rule that everyone in the world had to follow, what rule would you make? Why?