3 Supplemental Aids for Writing STAAR

We use tons of different writing resources and aids when we teach writing in our classrooms. However, when it comes to the STAAR test not everything we use during instruction is allowable on the test. Luckily, we’re here to show you three types of supplemental aids for STAAR Writing:

  • Blank Graphic Organizers
  • Mnemonic Devices
  • Grammar and Mechanics Rules

1. Blank Graphic Organizers

You likely already use all sorts of graphic organizers during your daily instruction. However, during the STAAR test it’s important that these graphic organizers don’t include any titles, words, labels, colors used as labels, pictures, acronyms, mnemonics, numbers, symbols, or variables.

An example of a graphic organizer that works great for writing is a Venn diagram. Venn diagrams can be used by your student to organize a compare and contrast essay. As you know, Venn diagrams illustrate the relationships between two or more sets of items and highlight how the items are similar and different.

It might seem silly to erase the details and just have the overlapping circles as a supplemental aid, but this memory jog helps students activate the knowledge they’ve previously learned.

2. Mnemonic Devices

All educators know how well mnemonic devices work to help students remember crucial facts. There are thousands of mnemonics you can use for the writing or revising process.

Try using CUPS for the editing process.


Or you might use a STAAR checklist to teach the revising process.

Substitute overused words
Take out repetitions
Add details and descriptions
Rearrange ideas logically

Just remember, come test day you’ll only be allowed to supply the words CUPS or STAR, not what each one stands for.

3. Grammar and Mechanics Rules

A grade appropriate list of grammar and mechanics rules without examples may be provided to your student. When doing this, remember to create a list based on your student’s needs.

A fourth grade student might need a list of rules that includes capitalization.

  • The first word of every sentence
  • The names of people
  • The names of streets, towns, cities, states, and countries
  • Days of the week, month and holidays
  • The first word of a direct quotation

While an English I student may apply capitalization correctly, but need help with comma use.

  • In a compound sentence
  • In a complex sentence
  • In a compound/complex sentence
  • In an appositive phrase
  • In a participle phrase
  • Before a direct quotation
  • Between words in a series
  • Between city and state

Gretchen Kehrberg is a Special Education Specialist at Region 13. In addition to her experience at the Education Service Center Region 13, she has ten years of teaching experience. Gretchen is passionate about education and working with teachers to create inclusive learning environments where all students have the opportunity to grow academically, socially, and emotionally.

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