“If you could have dinner with any three people living or dead who would you choose and why? Make sure to write your response using complete sentences. Fill in ALL THE LINES.” 

Here’s why this is a trap: forcing a student to write more than what their actual point is and evidence backs up means that you’re going to read nonsensical fluff. This kind of requirement doesn’t make sense on either side. You have to read a solid with piece of writing but with extra poop emoji plopped on at the end and a student gets practice bs-ing an assignment. In the real world there aren’t such strict guidelines with writing. In emails and blogs you can just write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write and write.

Just because you write more words does not mean that those words contribute anything of value to the overall piece. In addition, when a piece of writing is lacking density the issue often isn’t with the ending, it’s that there should be more detail in the middle parts, something that is difficult to do especially on an ELA homework assignment. When you hand a piece back to a student and say “you didn’t fill in ALL THE LINES” do want them to add nonsense to their conclusion or do you actually want them to add evidence or explanation to their argument? Think that through before you start setting illogical and unnecessary expectations on student work.

Besides, the only time in the history of time someone has needed to “write to” something is in the season 4 episode 10 of West Wing entitled “Arctic Radar”

TOBY
A 500-word stanza on American leadership in a globally interdependent age
that moves beyond triumphalism by this time tomorrow. If it’s 501, don’t show it to me.

Toby hands Will a pad of paper. Will takes the pad and leaves. Toby sits
down at his desk, folds up another piece of paper with writing on it and lights it on fire.

FADE OUT.
END ACT TWO

and later…

Will walks up and tosses the pad in front of Toby.

WILL
498. But with my name, it’s 500.

So there you have it. Let kids write and be excited about writing their piece and be done with it. If they only wrote two sentences about why taxes are bad, then of course make them write more! Just not to an arbitrary point at the bottom of a piece of paper.

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That’s also my over-the-moon face