Constructed Responses for Learning  book cover
1st Edition

Constructed Responses for Learning

ISBN 9781138931046
Published March 1, 2016 by Routledge
206 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Teaching students to write constructed responses does not have to become a test-prep chore. An intentional routine of constructed responses provides powerful opportunities to teach strategic thinking through writing that also deepens students’ knowledge about core subjects. In this clear guide from education consultant Warren Combs, you’ll learn how and why to teach students to write these short essays, no matter what subject or grade level you teach.

Special features:

  • Writing prompts that are based on Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) and provide practice for students at all skill levels
  • Practical strategies to build critical thinking and improve students’ writing, including sentence stems, acrostics, framed stories, analogies, and quad clusters
  • Student self-assessment guidelines and rigorous peer-response strategies
  • An interactive log to help you manage best practices and keep students engaged
  • Reading-Writing Modules to help you review and implement the instructional practices and strategies
  • Sample student work, at different levels, with analysis

Throughout the book, you’ll find handy tools such as rubrics, logs, and checklists. These tools are also available as free eResources on our website,, so you can download and print them for immediate use.

Table of Contents


Meet the Author



Section 1 ̶ The Rush to Constructed Responses


Constructed Responses for Assessment and Learning



The Five Key Practices of Constructed Responses for Learning



An Interactive Log of Constructed Responses


Section 2 ̶ Critical-Thinking Strategies that Fine-Tune Constructed Responses for Emerging and Independent Writers


Something on the Page that Helps You Remember What You Were Thinking



Free Writing Rigorous Thought



Recalling Knowledge as Chunks in Writing



Sharpening Understanding of Closely Related Words



Arriving in a World of Analogies



From General to Specific



Analyzing for Meaning



Prepping for Arguments


Section 3 - An Ultimate Learning Routine


Putting it All Together

13. Launching a Parting Shot


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Warren Combs is founder of Writing to Win of Athens, Georgia, a professional development firm committed to the use of peak-performance strategies in the teaching of writing. He is also author of the bestselling Writer’s Workshop for the Common Core.


"In Constructed Responses for Learning, Dr. Combs reveals the power of writing as the ultimate learning tool. His vast knowledge of working with teachers on how to successfully engage students in a writing routine is evident in this work. Teachers and their students will greatly benefit from using the cogent techniques and guidelines presented in this book." --Deborah Paine, Professor of Education, Valdosta State University, Georgia

"Combs has provided teachers with an exceptional methodology for students to analyze, explain, and respond to their learning. Having used many of these strategies, I can verify that his journaling techniques allow students of varying abilities to exemplify deeper knowledge and attain confidence in their speaking and writing skills. Students self-assess their work using a simplified symbol system that provides immediate feedback for both the student and teacher." --Donna Knight, 5th Grade Teacher, Woodstation Elementary School, Rock Spring, Georgia

"The journal strategies in this book not only promote deep thinking and analysis skills, but also allow students to meet the Common Core State Standards in an insightful way. The teacher can easily implement the strategies in any subject area." --Staci Haag, Language Arts Instructor, Dakota Valley High School, North Sioux City, South Dakota

Constructed Responses for Learning provides a consistent approach to teaching students how to compose short written responses, which are supported by key content vocabulary, participation in student-centered academic conversations, and self-assessment. Teachers and students can use the constructed responses to determine student mastery of standards, leading to data-driven decisions during instructional planning. These strategies will raise the expectations and rigor for student thinking in any classroom in which they are implemented.” --Shannah Mabry, Instructional Support Specialist, Greenville, Georgia