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Better Written Responses

As some of you know, one of my colleagues and I put the finishing touches on a p.d. we’re doing, later this week, yesterday afternoon.  One of the things we spent some time planning yesterday was a mini unit of study on how to apply the qualities of good writing to test writing on standardized writing tests.   The book that guided us through a lot of the work we did yesterday was the second edition of Better Answers: Written Performance That Looks Good and Sounds Smart by Ardith Davis Cole.

Here’s what the second minilesson I wrote yesterday, which introduces Cole’s Concept of “The Better Answer Sandwich.” For my purposes, I changed it to a hamburger (so keep that in mind as you’re reading).

I know, from reading some of the comments we’ve received lately, that most folks are in the middle of testing right now.  However, if you’re looking for a text to help your kids do some unpainful work to prepare for written responses on tests going-forward, then consider browsing the book online before you get it.  (NOTE: There’s an excellent CD-ROM at the back of the book, which includes lessons, charts, and many other goodies.)

Better Answers: Written Performance That Looks Good and Sounds Smart, Second Edition
Written by Ardith Davis Cole
Published by Stenhouse Publishers in 2009.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who focuses on writing workshop. I've been working with K-6 teachers and students since 2009. Prior to that, I was a fourth and fifth-grade teacher in New York City and Rhode Island.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband and children. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing Pilates, cooking, baking, making ice cream, and reading novels.

2 thoughts on “Better Written Responses Leave a comment

  1. I just want to say that I really like this book and the “Better Answer Sandwich” because it gives the kids a clear model to follow. I have done lots of different thing with it. Most kids are able to improve their responses.


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