An exemplar is, by definition, one that serves as a model or example.
When teachers are explaining concepts and ideas related to writing, there are times when lessons may not go as planned. Some students may find it difficult to understand the issues discussed or require more assistance. This may not always be possible depending on the size of class or the level of assistance needed.
This is when an exemplar may be of help. An exemplar can serve as a useful tool to help a student grasp key concepts and skills or even assessment criteria. As we are already aware, for learning to be effective, students must have a genuine connection to the content they are being asked to learn. Exemplars help deepen that connection.
Annotating the exemplar can help students by ‘demystifying the process, making explicit what is often implicit for experts, and provides a valuable model for students to strive forward’. For example, Writing Legends contains both short (we call them “Quick Writes’) and longer focus (we call them ‘Full Process’ Writes) activities. There are activities for 18 types of writing. Each has different rules, purpose and audience.
The Quick Writes are short writing activities. The key focus is students enjoying writing and thinking of ideas. These are, therefore, ideal lesson starters. The writing is not expected to be perfect.
The Full Process Writes are more advanced and they assist teachers in the management of the writing process from Plan & Draft to Edit & Publish. We provide support structures to enable students to transition from dependent to independent.
Regardless of whether it is a short or longer focus writing activity, there are typically annotated exemplars provided. Here is one such exemplar.
You will see notes that highlight the key elements. Students benefit from not only seeing exemplar responses but also having them deconstructed. In summary, consider the use of annotated exemplars to aid your students in their writing activities.