Social Studies – Writing Series #5
Analysis and Commentary:
The Tour Guide
Analysis and Commentary:
Tell Them What to See
• Explains how the facts you have given
support the topic sentence in your
• Usually answers the questions “Why?” and
• Do the thinking for your readers – connect
and explain your facts
• Persuade as if you were a lawyer or a
Pieces of a Body Paragraph
(Topic sent.) Although eating is important in both
celebrations, the sit down meal is central to Thanksgiving whereas July 4th food is meant to be carried and
eaten outdoors. (Facts) Grocery stores advertise frozen
turkeys, stuffing, potatoes, and cans of pumpkin during
the Thanksgiving season. (Commentary) Each of these
foods requires preparation before they can be cooked.
(Facts) For July 4th, however, stores advertise discounts
on sodas, hot dogs, hamburgers, and chips. (Commentary) Many July 4th foods are ready to be eaten without
cooking; they are easy to take to a baseball game or a
fireworks show. But even foods that need cooking can
usually be thrown on a grill without any preparation and
then eaten without utensils. Food is the event for
Thanksgiving; food is not the focus for July 4th.
(Clincher sent.) For Thanksgiving, people go to the food;
for July 4th, the food goes with the people.
Strategy #1 –
Fill in the Blank
Dear ________________,
• I need ______________.
• Supporting fact as to why
you need it
• Explanation of fact
Dear Mom,
• I need $10.
• $10 will let me see the new
• All of my friends have seen the
new movie and that’s all they
talk about, so I need to see it
so that I can join the conversation. Also, my teacher has
used the movie as an example
and I didn’t know what he was
talking about.
Strategy #2 –
Prompt: How are werewolves and
vampires similar and different?
Activities for this strategy:
1) Brainstorm and categorize the prompt
2) Divide into groups or pairs
3) Write a topic sentence, supporting evidence and
analysis and commentary for one body
4) Share body paragraphs and choose the best
ones for a class essay
Strategy #2 –
Prompt: How are werewolves and
vampires similar and different?
Werewolves brainstorming:
• Human
• Full moon
• Grow hair and fangs
• Can run in packs
• Hide being werewolves
• Run to forests
• Quiet as people
Vampires brainstorming:
• Undead – never die
• Drink human blood
• Bite necks
• Kill people who
become new vampires
• Live in cities
• Well dressed
• Good looking
Strategy #2 –
Prompt: How are werewolves and vampires
similar and different?
How they Where they
transform live
Full moon Outskirts –
– alive
go to woods
when wolf
Vampires Always
vampire – usually older
How they view
want to protect
other humans
arrogant; want
to make others
Strategy #2 –
Prompt: How are werewolves and vampires
similar and different?
Thesis: Although werewolves and vampires are both
fictional monsters who harm humans, they differ in how
they transform, where they live, and how they view their
supernatural qualities.
Body Paragraph #1 – How they transform
Supporting evidence:
Analysis and Commentary:
Body Paragraph #2 – Where they live
Supporting evidence:
Analysis and Commentary:
Body Paragraph #3 – How they view their supernatural
Supporting evidence:
Analysis and Commentary:
Strategy #2
1)Divide into groups or pairs – Each
group/pair gets 1 body paragraph from the
previous slide
2)Write a topic sentence, supporting evidence
and analysis and commentary for one body
3) Share body paragraphs and choose the
best ones for a class essay
Strategy #3 –
• Go to, select and
print out enough 8–10 requests (enough
for each student group of 3–4 to have one)
• You could donate (or ask the PTO to
donate) $5 - $10 to the group who argues
for their cause the best
Strategy #3 –
• Have groups choose 1 request from
• Groups need to write
– Topic sentence arguing one reason why their
request should be funded
– Supporting evidence (facts) – Write a sentence that
gives evidence as to why the request should be
– Commentary – Explanation as to how the evidence
shows that the request should be funded
Strategy #4 – Pictures
1) Write a reason that the photographer
took the picture (Topic sentence)
2) Give evidence (facts) from the picture to
support your reason
3) Explain how the evidence supports your
Strategy #4 – Pictures – Example
Why did the
(Topic sent.) The
photographer take photographer took this
picture to show that Albert
this picture?
Einstein was human.
(Fact) Einstein raised his
eyebrows and stuck out
his tongue. (Commentary)
This behavior isn’t typical
of a genius who is a
scientist and it makes the
viewers laugh. Obviously,
Einstein didn’t always take
himself too seriously.
Strategy #4 – Pictures – Practice
Why did the photographer take this picture?
Strategy #5 –
Fill-in-the-Commentary Essay
• Cinderella and Snow White
Strategy #6 –
Class Essay
• Assign an essay to the class
• Brainstorm, categorize and write the thesis
as a whole class
• Divide categories among groups and have
each group write one body paragraph
• Have them write the topic sentence in
black ink, supporting evidence in blue ink,
and commentary in red ink
Strategy #7 –
Topic sentence
(State which category is
being compared and
(What is your proof?
What was in the
Fully elaborated
(Make us see the
importance of the
connection with new
(Connect evidence to
topic sentence. How
do the facts prove
the topic sentence?)
Strategy #8
• The next 5 slides are from previous writing
• Students can practice writing analysis and
commentary using one or more of the
– As a whole class, model and think aloud
writing one body paragraph from one slide
– In pairs or in groups, choose one body
paragraph to write, focusing on the analysis
and commentary
– For homework, write one body paragraph
– Give students the Body Paragraph rubric and
let them score their own and/or their peers
Thanksgiving and July 4th
• Body Paragraph #1—Who we celebrate with
– Thanksgiving = family
– July 4th = neighbors
• Body Paragraph #2—Why we celebrate
– Thanksgiving = giving thanks
– July 4th = U.S. birthday
• Body Paragraph #3—What we do to celebrate
– Thanksgiving = football and food
– July 4th = parades, music, and fireworks
Thesis: Thanksgiving and July 4th, two federal
holidays unique to the U.S., are both similar and
different in who they are celebrated with, why they
are celebrated, and what is done to celebrate them.
Football and Basketball
• Body Paragraph #1—Equipment and cost
– Football = Expensive (lots of equipment and people)
– Basketball = Inexpensive (not much equipment)
• Body Paragraph #2—Brings people together
– Football = All day event with hundreds of thousands
– Basketball = Shorter, more frequent events
• Body Paragraph #3—Players and Rules
– Football = Large and aggressive; tackling and plays
– Basketball = Tall and agile players; jump shots and
Thesis: Football and basketball both reflect the U.S.’s
need to be bigger, more powerful, and wealthier than
the rest of the world even as they differ in what is
needed to play the games, how they bring people
together, and how the games are played.
Schools in 1950s and Today
• Body Paragraph #1—Economic
– 1950s = chalkboards and paper
– Today = projectors, computers, interactive boards
• Body Paragraph #2—Social
– 1950s = Memorization of facts, paddling, parent support
– Today = Creativity, schools take on parental roles
• Body Paragraph #3—Political
– 1950s = Segregated, failure is student’s responsibility
– Today = Desegregated, IDEA, NCLB, failure is school’s
Thesis: Since the 1950s, schools in the U.S. have
become more inclusive and more responsible for
preparing all students for success in tomorrow’s
Austin, Texas
Position: Austin rocks!
Thesis: Families and
singles should move to
Austin because of the
outstanding University
of Texas, beautiful Lady
Bird Lake, and delicious
Mexican food.
Road map: UT, Lady
Bird Lake, Chuy’s
Position: Austin stinks!
Thesis: It is surprising that
anyone ever chooses to
live in Austin because of
its terrible traffic, dying
malls, and high summer
Road map: IH-35 at rush
hour, Highland Mall, any
large parking lot at noon in
Analysis and Commentary:
Tell Your Audience What to See
• Connect the facts to
your position
• Answer “Why?” and
• Think aloud for your
• Sell your position

Analysis and Commentary