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Sample Writing Prompt

Your principal is trying to create an environment in which the staff at your school works together more effectively and has asked for your help. Write a memo to your fellow teachers on this topic. In this memo include why it is important for staff to collaborate, possible ways this might be accomplished, and the potential challenges of collaboration.

Your response will be evaluated based on how well you communicate your message to the intended audience, not on your personal opinions, position, or point of view. Your response will be evaluated based on how well organized and focused your writing is, how well you develop and elaborate on your ideas, and your grammar and mechanics.

Test-Taking Tip

Make sure you address the entire prompt. If it asks for three points or multiple examples, make sure you include that in your response.

Example of a “5” Response

To: Fellow Teachers From: J. Jones Re: Collaboration Date: 2-12-07

I have been asked by Principal Smith to suggest ways in which teachers at our school might work more effectively together. Instead of working individually toward similar goals (or the same curricular goals within one subject), collaboration allows us to work more effectively toward achieving our goals together. I’d like to discuss why collaboration is important, ways that we may collaborate, and challenges that we might encounter as we begin this new endeavor.

Collaboration is certainly an important goal. It can foster greater cooperation among teachers and promote mutually beneficial interaction between us. It will encourage sharing of the best methods we know, which ultimately will allow us provide our students the best educational opportunities we can offer.

Increasing communication between us is a large component of this goal, and by using our most powerful communication tool, the school intranet, we can share recent ideas and our most successful methods. This will encourage a dialogue between us on a daily basis. In addition, we might add a weekly lunchtime or after-school meeting, short and primarily social in nature, but with the overall theme of exchanging ideas, making suggestions, offering support and assistance, and generally helping each other to be better teachers. This will give us an opportunity to communicate and bond in a more relaxed atmosphere. Finally, experienced teachers can volunteer to participate in a videotaping of their classroom activities. These videotaped classroom sessions will provide examples of different teaching styles and methods to newer teachers or those looking for additional or alternate methods for classroom interaction. Videotaping offers an indirect but effective method to communicate by example the process of teaching.

Our greatest challenge will be time. It will take time to initiate these suggestions and bring them to fruition. But I believe this small investment of time will increase our collaboration, improve our communication, and foster cooperation between us. These accomplishments will reward us as educators and, most importantly, they will improve our students’ educational experience.

While we may experience challenges at the outset, collaboration is an important strategy to implement in our school. The successes will outweigh the struggles, and our students will be better supported in our classrooms as we teachers work to better support each other. I look forward to working with you on this new goal!