More Expository Writing Samples

We finally finished up our third expository writing pieces.  This time, we wrote about our role models.

We started off by looking at some mentor leads in Gretchen Bernabei’s book, Fun Size Academic Writing.  I asked my students to put a star by their favorite one and try it out in their own writing.  Wow!  They are SOOO powerful!

**Updated: We used this structure: Who I admire, Internal Characteristics, External Skills, That’s Why

Some of us are still getting the hang of adding in details to our writing, while others of us have REALLY gotten that down!  I wanted to share four of my favorites with you.

Click here to read.

After you read them, I know that some of you might be wondering…is EVERYONE writing like this?  And the reality is…no.  They aren’t.  Some don’t even come close to these at this point.  The good news?  They will soon!  I have faith!

I want to be real with you…and the hard truth is that many writers are still very much struggling to get depth and details into their writing.  This is something that we will be developing throughout the year.  It’s pretty simple to get a kernel essay down on paper.  It’s that NEXT step of adding in details to flesh out a paragraph that seems to hold up so many of our young writers.

So…that will be the focus for our near future!  Sure, leads and conclusions are great…but without the MEAT of the writing, it doesn’t matter how much you grabbed your reader’s attention at the beginning.  We have to KEEP them interested!

Please feel free to print these out and use them in your own classroom.  That’s what I do…use other students’ writing to share and talk about what worked and what didn’t.  That’s how our students learn the best.  Without a mentor text, they have nothing.  For many students, creating something from nothing is near to impossible.  With a mentor text, students are given examples of what good writing sounds like…which for some is the crutch that they so desperately need!

I say all of this to let you know that we ALL have areas to upgrade.  I know that right now…for us…it’s adding in those meaningful details.

What about you?  What are your kiddos struggling with the most right now?  I’d love to know…and I KNOW that many others wonder who else is in their same boat…  Please let us know in the comments!  :)



  1. What kernel essay structure did you use if any?

  2. Donna Conner says:

    Hello Kayla, my students have finished their first complete expository essay and, I have to say, we are SO excited about their progress.The students can hardly believe what they have written. The flipbooks were AMAZING. I’ll introduce the “fake flipbook” for their next piece. The revision stations and Gretchen’s “Grammar Keepers” are fabulous tools for revising and editing. I totally agree that 95% of the battle is helping the students with their confidence. They WILL believe in themselves, with a little help. I credit Gretchen’s books, your incredible shared work, and some years of experience on my part for the successes we have been experiencing. Thank you SO much for your hard work and helping me reconnect with teaching writing. : ) Donna

    • Kayla Shook says:

      Oh my goodness! That is SOOO awesome!! I’m so happy for you and your kiddos. They (and YOU) should be so proud! It’s always fun when you SEE the progress right before your eyes! Keep rocking it!! :)

  3. Lorraine Cole says:

    Good afternoon. Is it true that the students are no longer required to write a personal narrative for the 2016 STAAR test? Have you heard this as well?

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