Posted by: jockmackenzie | October 1, 2009

Student Writing – Methods of Elaboration


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I use the acronym “FREQOES” to help students remember some of the information they can include in their paragraphs. It gives them a “hook” to help remind them. The letters stand for:

F =Facts and Statistics

R =Reasons

E =Examples

Q =Quotes

O =Opinions

E =Experiences

S = Senses

In my book Essay Writing: Teaching the Basics from the Ground Up (Pembroke, 2007), there are two pages devoted to a complete explanation – pages 58 – 59, under the heading “Methods of Development.”

In my current work as a volunteer at Westpark Middle School, one of the grade eight teachers, Joe Bower, has had his kids watch an excerpt from the movie Monsters Inc. He has given them a paragraph assignment as follow-up. Three choices were offered:

– Describe the relationship between Sully and Mike

– Describe Monsters Incorporated – the business

– What is a 2319?

My role was to work with individual students to see if, together, we could improve the student’s writing. As I looked at several different paragraphs, it occurred to me that the FREQOES system was at work, to some degree, almost intuitively. Several students had supported their descriptions with examples from the film, one had quoted the words of a character, and yet another had explained ‘why’ she believed an instance from the film supported her point of view.

Despite the intuitive nature of elaborating or developing a point of view, I believe knowledge of the concept would be worthwhile. Perhaps I will see if I can share FREQOES with some of the classes I will be working with and will then elaborate on the results in upcoming blogs.

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