Mastering RACES Strategy for STAAR ECR Success

Welcome back to Custom Classroom by Angela, where we’re on a mission to equip educators with the strategies they need for STAAR success. In today’s blog post, we’re going to delve into one of the most crucial aspects of STAAR preparation: teaching the RACES strategy. So, whether you’re a seasoned teacher or just starting, grab your favorite writing tools and digital devices as we explore how to empower your students for STAAR ECR success.

Or you can watch the video:

The RACES Strategy:

To get started, let’s break down the RACES strategy into its core components. RACES is an acronym that stands for Restate the question, Answer the question, Cite evidence, Explain the evidence, and Summarize. It’s a structured approach that helps students tackle open-ended questions, such as the ECR, effectively, ensuring they address the prompt with clarity.

Get your own copy of the planning pages seen in this post -> free ECR tools

R for Restate the Question:

The first step, “R,” involves rephrasing the question within the answer. This ensures students are on the right track and are directly addressing the prompt. By restating the question, they set the stage for a coherent response.

A for Answer the Question:

In the “A” step, students provide a direct response to the question asked. This step encourages them to be concise and stay focused on the task at hand, avoiding unnecessary fluff.

C for Cite Evidence:

“C,” or citing evidence, is where students must back up their answer with specific evidence from the text. This step is vital as it reinforces critical reading and comprehension skills, a cornerstone of scoring 5 points on your STAAR ECR.

E for Explain the Evidence:

“E” stands for “Explain,” and in this step, students elaborate on how the evidence they’ve provided supports their answer. It adds depth and context to their responses, showcasing their comprehension and analytical skills.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 to provide a second piece of evidence to develop a more thorough answer.

S for Summarize:

The final step, “S,” involves summarizing the response. Students restate their answer, recap the two main points from the body paragraphs, and conclude their response with a well-rounded summary.

Teaching RACES on Paper:

The traditional method of teaching RACES on paper lays a strong foundation for students. They learn to navigate open-ended questions step by step, fostering a clear thought process and structured answers. This approach is essential for STAAR success as it helps students gain confidence in their abilities.

Transitioning to STAAR Online:

With the STAAR testing platform now online, students face ECR (Extended Constructed Response) questions that require them to apply a strategy. The challenge here is memorization. Students must structure their response independently and keep track of their thoughts.

An Alternative Approach:

While some teachers opt for using a folded sheet of paper to mimic the planning page, there’s a more efficient method. Having students type their RACES responses directly into the answer box on the computer not only saves time but also eliminates the need for double work. What they type during the planning phase can seamlessly transition into their final response.

Teaching RACES, both on paper and online, is about arming your students with the tools they need to conquer the STAAR test. Remember, practice is the key to perfection. Offer your students ample opportunities to apply the RACES strategy in both formats. For additional resources and free ECR tools to support your teaching, feel free to check out our collection.

We hope you found this blog post helpful. If you did, don’t forget to share it with your fellow educators. Together, we can empower our students for STAAR success.

If you are looking for more ECR tips and tricks, check out our playlist.

Thanks for joining us, and best of luck in your teaching journey!

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