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Generating Commentary with a WOW Factor!


Dear Dr. Louis,

What is a WOW sheet?

- A. Stout,

AP® English Literature Endorsed Consultant, Boise State Writing Project Fellow

Dear Mr. Stout,

Thank you for your insightful question!

"WOW" stands for the "Web-off-the-Word"™." It is one of the steps and graphic organizers in the JSWP thinking and writing process, developed by Jane to help students generate commentary. It was originally designed for the Analytical Response to Literature and Style Analysis workshops although it has evolved and is now included in Expository, Argumentation, and Narrative.

On the WOW sheet, a student starts with a single word that gives insight into a text and addresses the prompt's request. Often, the word is a tone word or an abstract noun. Next, the student provides a synonym -- one with the same tone or feeling. The student then moves to the two cloud images, and here s/he provides "lofty thoughts," phrases that develop the single words into ideas. Once the student has generated these single words and phrases, the final step is to "pick-n-stitch" the selections together into insightful sentences of commentary (analysis).This method prevents the redundancy we so often see in students' commentary; they come to us simply not knowing how to produce analysis from their analytical mind, their heart/soul, their gut, instincts, and intuition. The WOW sheet teaches them how to give life (form) to their inner thoughts.

Here is how our leadership and program coordinator, Mr. David Dorn describes it: "The WOW sheet is designed to guide students to “dig deeper” or broaden their vocabulary development in order to build their commentary sentences and revise their topic sentence and concluding sentence based upon the prompt and text- based details. In essence, it is a graphic organizer for students to utilize, which enhances word usage, stretch their thinking and structure their thoughts.

Keep writing and reading!

Dr. Louis

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