Expository Essay Lesson Plans

Posted on by Gomi

A Lesson with Menus

If the Internet is not readily available for students, interactive activities still can happen in the classroom. Giving students a topic and turning them loose with a notepad is not one.

Teachers can be "interactive" through the whole writing process, which means discussion with the whole class and small groups. For example, teachers can create a menu to choose from in the classroom for topics, organizational patterns and graphic organizers.

On the Internet, there are many websites that have ideas, such as PowerPoint presentations on the Lee's Summit R7 School District website, the PPPST.com website or the Teachers.Scholastic website. The Read Write Think website has an essay map for students to use.

Paper Menu Suggestions

Students should choose one topicto write the essay.Teachers can, of course, add to the list:

  • school rules
  • current fads
  • conflicts with friends
  • music
  • sports
  • video games
  • fishing
  • fashion

Example Organizational Patterns

Expository essays can be organized into several organizational patterns. Students need to choose one and stick with it.

  • cause and effect
  • description
  • problem solution
  • sequential order
  • report
  • news article

Example Graphic Organizers

Once students know their organizational pattern, they can choose a graphic organizer to help them brainstorm and organize ideas for their papers.

The websites Education Oasis, Educplace.com and Freeology.com have many great examples of these types of graphic organizers that teachers and students can use.

Steps to Create an Essay

  1. Before students begin writing, teachers can share how the students will be assessed. One way to assess the writing is by using a rubric. The criteria could be the following: flow, voice, writing conventions, organization, word choice, etc.
  2. Through large group classroom discussion, students can discuss the topics, organizational structures and graphic organizer.
  3. After each student selects a topic, organizational structure and graphic organizer, the students will need to fill out the graphic organizer. Students can work with a partner to help develop ideas on the graphic organizer.
  4. Then, students need to write a draft. Depending on the age of the student, teacher can assign a length. Elementary students may be working on the basic paragraph. For most middle school students, a three to five paragraph essay is great. High school students can be longer.
  5. After the rough draft is complete, students need to share their work with another person. If the teacher handed out a rubric, the peer should use it to assess the student's writing strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Next, students should write their final copy.

The expository activities should help students to write strong essays and to be interactive. How the interaction occurs is up to the teacher.

Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

How-To Writing: Motivating Students to Write for a Real Purpose

It's not easy surviving fourth grade (or third or fifth)! In this lesson, students brainstorm survival tips for future fourth graders and incorporate those tips into an essay.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Exploring Cause and Effect Using Expository Texts About Natural Disasters

Students explore the nature and structure of expository texts that focus on cause and effect and apply what they learned using graphic organizers and writing paragraphs to outline cause-and-effect relationships.


Grades   4 – 7  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

A "Cay"ribbean Island Study

As a pre-reading activity for The Cay, groups of students choose and study a Caribbean island, create a final product in the format of their choice, and finally, do an oral presentation to share information learned.


Grades   3 – 6  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

The Houdini Box: What Did Houdini Hide? Writing Creative Endings

Students are encouraged to understand a book that the teacher reads aloud to create a new ending for it using the writing process.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Defining Moments: Charting Character Evolution in Lord of the Flies

Savagery, treachery, lost innocence... Lord of the Flies is rife with character development. Use this lesson to help students chart the character changes of Ralph and Jack, both in groups and individually.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Developing Citizenship Through Rhetorical Analysis

Students analyze rhetorical strategies in online editorials, building knowledge of strategies and awareness of local and national issues. This lesson teaches students connections between subject, writer, and audience and how rhetorical strategies are used in everyday writing.


Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Persuasion Map

The Persuasion Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to map out their arguments for a persuasive essay or debate.


Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Compare & Contrast Map

The Compare & Contrast Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to organize and outline their ideas for different kinds of comparison essays.


Grades   5 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  December 5

Walt Disney was born in 1901.

Students describe female characters in Disney films, discuss their characteristics, and write a thesis statement about them.


Grades   6 – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Developing Evidence-Based Arguments from Texts

This strategy guide clarifies the difference between persuasion and argumentation, stressing the connection between close reading of text to gather evidence and formation of a strong argumentative claim about text.


Grades   6 – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Teaching With Podcasts

This Strategy Guide describes the processes involved in composing and producing audio files that are published online as podcasts.


Grades   K – 5  |  Strategy Guide

Implementing the Writing Process

This strategy guide explains the writing process and offers practical methods for applying it in your classroom to help students become proficient writers.


Grades   K – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Shared Writing

This strategy guide explains how to use shared writing to teach students effective strategies that will improve their own independent writing ability.


Grades   K – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Write Alouds

This strategy guide explains how to use write-aloud (also known as modeled writing) to teach effective writing strategies and improve students' independent writing ability.


Grades   3 – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Inquiry Charts (I-Charts)

This guide introduces I-Charts, a strategy that enables students to generate meaningful questions about a topic and organize their writing.


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