Our first day back from the holidays was a success. My students, although lethargic at the start of the day, worked hard and finished up their expository essays they had started before the break. Some are still working, but since it is time to move on to narratives, I told them that they can revisit their pieces a little later if they had not quite finished.
For this essay, we used a different prompt and text structure than our first attempt. This time, I gave them the prompt: Everyone has something that they consider special. Write about your most prized possession. Explain why it is special to you. We used the following text structure: I just couldn’t do without… –> It has the most… –> It also has… –> Before I had it… –> That’s why… –> Without it… What I found the most interesting was that my students were already taking risks and changing up the text structure to make it relevant to what they were doing. They would ask, “Can I change the text structure around?” and “Do I have to use that sentence starter, or can I change it a little?” Yes, yes, YES! Music to my ears. Soon I will be posting their altered text structures and labeling them with the students’ names to give them credit. Love it!
All this being said, they didn’t have a real long time to work on their papers this time due to testing and interruptions in our schedule. I chose 3 papers from my homeroom to share with you. I’ll be adding more from the other class, but this is what I have for now.
Cats by Mallory (This one is a little shorter, but this is a student that did not come to me as a natural writer. She has great ideas and is able to write very quickly and very well about things that mean a lot to her. You can really tell that she admires her cats–she wrote about them for our other expository prompt, too. I like that she is using the same ideas for more than one prompt. I give her lots of credit for that!)
Multi-Tool Knife by Andrew (This one is longer than the first sample. This student actually got to come into my classroom last year as a 3rd grader since he was more advanced in his writing than the rest of the students in his class. He has learned a lot and is getting better and better by the day. He has a wild imagination and his personality shows through his writing. He has taken to heart our mentor text, Barbie, and incorporated some of her ideas. If you’ve read it, you’ll notice!)
Balloony by Avery (This is the longest one–longer than 26 lines. She is an AH-MAZING writer…and I can’t take credit for much of it. She is definitely a natural. She soaks up every lesson and incorporates new ideas in every piece of writing. She, like Andrew, has taken ideas from Barbie and run with them. She also uses a thesaurus just about every time she writes to be sure she uses just the right vocabulary to get her point across!)
You will also notice that all 3 of these kiddos modified the text structure to make it their own. I will try to find some papers that used the text structure as it was given for my next installment.
We all hope you enjoy reading these papers. I show my students my blog posts that relate to them, and we look at your comments together. They LOVE to read your comments, so leave them some love! Let them know how awesome they are!! 😉
- The First Installment of Expository Writing Samples (texasteachingfanatic.com)
- Expository Writing: Gretchen Bernabei Style (texasteachingfanatic.com)
- Narrative vs. Expository (texasteachingfanatic.com)
- Color It Up (texasteachingfanatic.com)