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Breaking down a writing prompt using P.A.T

Breaking down a writing prompt using P.A.T

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Author: Betsy VanSweden
Description:

The P.A.T. strategy allows you to identify essential tasks within a writing prompt. It also allows you to build a thesis frame so that you can better develop a clear controlling idea for your essay. 

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Tutorial

P.A.T. Strategy: What is it?

The P.A.T. strategy asks that students break down a writing prompt by identifying the purpose, audience, and task in order to develop a thesis frame. 


Example:

Using a gradual release model is the best way to teach the P.A.T. strategy. Look at the following writing prompt:

After reading the provided texts, write an essay in which you take a position on whether or not students should or should not be allowed to use cell phones in school. Be sure to include evidence to support your argument. 

Students should now watch as the teacher breaks down the P.A.T. of that writing prompt.

P: What is the purpose of your writing?

Answer: I will "write an essay" on "whether or not students should be allowed to use cell phones in school". 

A: List three possible audiences that may be interested in what you have to say on this topic. (This allows students to decide whether they are writing in a formal or informal style)

Answer: students, teachers, school administrators. 

T: What type of writing task is this? (students will identify what type of writing they are being asked to complete based on evidence from the prompt)

Answer: Argumentative Writing based on the use of the words "take a position", "whether or not", and "argument". 


You try!

Use the following writing prompt to answer the quiz questions asking you to identify the purpose, audience, and task of the prompt.

Write an essay in which you explain why it is important for students to gain exposure to multiple types of technology and use their knowledge in real life experiences during their education. 

Turning your P.A.T into a thesis frame to organize your essay outline.

Once you have broken down your writing prompt developing a thesis frame becomes easy and helpful for the outlining process. Check out the example below from the first writing prompt:

After reading the provided texts, write an essay in which you take a position on whether or not students should or should not be allowed to use cell phones in school. Be sure to include evidence to support your argument. 

P: What is the purpose of your writing?
Answer: I will "write an essay" on "whether or not students should be allowed to use cell phones in school". 


A: List three possible audiences that may be interested in what you have to say on this topic. (This allows students to decide whether they are writing in a formal or informal style)
Answer: students, teachers, school administrators. 


T: What type of writing task is this? (students will identify what type of writing they are being asked to complete based on evidence from the prompt)
Answer: Argumentative Writing based on the use of the words "take a position", "whether or not", and "argument". 

Thesis Frame:

Students should/should not be allowed to use cell phones in school because ___________ and _____________.

Students will now take a side, circle the side they are on, and fill in the reasons that were most supported of their side from their given sources. In this way they have created the frame of an organized outline in which they will collect relevant evidence and break their thesis into topic sentences.