Learn How to Differentiate For
ALL Levels of Writers
✔ You have students who are struggling with writing or are completely disinterested, which has you feeling inadequate.
✔ You have students make the same mistakes over and over again, and it's driving you a little mad.
✔ Differentiating your writing lesson sounds amazing, but you don't have the time or resources to pull it off.
What is anchor text?
Anchor text is a piece of text that matches the topic or writing prompt. It’s used for the purpose of supporting the student’s opinions and/or ideas during opinion, argumentative, and explanatory writing.
Where can I find anchor text?
Everywhere! NewsELA and Time for Kids are my favorite for opinion and argumentative writing. For explanatory writing I often use pictures books about the topic that I check out from the library.
How much of the text should students use?
Students should choose 2-3 quotes from the text to support their own ideas. Often when you give students a text about the same topic they’re supposed to write about, they copy as much of it as they can. They just don’t know any better in elementary school, which is why these lessons are so important. Before students even read the anchor text, they should have some of their own ideas for the writing mapped out.
What should students quote?
Students should quote the parts of the text that support their own ideas. The strongest quotes are statistics and data. Since we don’t have the means to go out and poll a large group of people, we rarely have our own statistics to use in our writing.
How do students cite their sources?
The Common Core Standards say that in text citation is all they need in elementary. I do have my 6th grade students fully cite their sources when we do our research reports. It’s a good way to practice the formatting to prepare for high school and college!
We also use sentence starters to quote text. Below is a page from our Reading interactive notebooks that we use for this!
How do students organize the information?
It’s truly about teaching students balance when using anchor text for their own writing. I tell my students that I LOVE hearing their unique ideas, so the majority of their essay should be made up of those. I get so excited when I see them supporting their ideas with quotes from the anchor text!