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MiddlingAZ MiddlingAZ is offline
Joined: May 2009
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MiddlingAZ's Avatar
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 4,042
Senior Member
Old 07-20-2009, 02:48 PM
Clip to ScrapBook #2

First, do you have a good graphic organizer for an essay? This is the best way to start teaching HOW. There are tons out there. A lot are for a 5 paragraph essay, but can easily be adapted to fewer. Even a one-paragraph response would have the same elements.
I googled my favorite, which is a called a pillar, but this is the first result that popped up so I grabbed it just so you can see an example.

Your Language Arts teachers should be a good resource for organizers and to work hand in hand with you on this! I would imagine they have to cover expository essays in their curriculum and you would want to piggyback on how they teach it. Here is a quick outline of what I think is typical.

The first paragraph is the INTRO. The students should turn the prompt or question into the topic sentence. (What were the causes of the Revolution becomes There were many causes of the Revolution) Next, they need the thesis statement, which gives the reader a BRIEF overview of all the causes/reasons which will be discussed in the BODY. Transition words such as first, second, third or first, next, finally are simple when kids are first starting. You can find charts of these for kids to have as a reference. A good addition after the topic/thesis are drafted is a Lead, aka hook or attention-grabber. This is actually the first sentence and can be a question, dramatic statement, interesting fact, bold opinion and so on, but should lead into the topic sentence. You can also find lessons on sample Leads.

The BODY is generally organized into separate paragraphs, one for each point introduced in the thesis statement. Each paragraph contains support, details, examples, reasons, and so on.

The last paragraph is the CONCLUSION. Basically, avoid "In conclusion" and restate the topic/thesis in different words.

Scholastic has good resources on teaching the 5 paragraph expository essay, but I really think you should be able to find ample guides online. This is a big topic and I've only scratched the surface here, hoping further posters will fill more in. You'll probably get good tips on the SS board, too! Good for you for undertaking this.
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