Introducing Expository Writing

Enough to strike fear in your heart?  Here's an easy way to slide your kids into expository writing.  Our kiddos have an expository essay as part of their state writing test in fourth grade.  I figure if I can help my kids get the basics of this down (instead of sending them to fourth grade with an "expository, say what?"), the fourth grade teachers at my school will worship the ground I walk on.

I modeled every step of the way using our school nurse as my example.  This type of writing was very new for my kids, so I had them work in groups.  (Sidenote-They all freaked out when I said the word essay.)

Day 1: Choose your central idea and support
(Yes, I should have taken pictures along the way.  The highlighted parts show day 1.)

I gave each group a 12x18 piece of construction paper that was folded into four sections.  They had to write their central idea and three meaning reasons to support it.

You will have to have a conversation about why "She is nice" is not meaningful support.  I told my students that our nurse had long hair, was from Kansas, and was nice, but that had nothing to do with why she was important to our school.

Day 2: Plan your support
I showed them three ways to write about their reasons:
•Listing
•What ifs (what if that person wasn't at our school? What would happen?)
•Personal experience

We planned how we would support each reason.

Day 3: Time to write!
Needless to say, writing their paragraphs was a breeze after all that planning.  Each kid in the group chose a reason to turn into a paragraph, and they whipped out an expository essay in no time.

I was so happy with how these lessons went.  Each day my room was loud, but it was the GOOD kind of loud.  Kids talking and planning and discussing writing!  Swoon.


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8 comments

  1. That looks like an awesome lesson! What a great way to help them expand their writing. And yes, us 4th grade teachers will worship the ground you walk on :)

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

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  2. I like the idea of having each kid choose a reason- that's great cooperative learning going on! My 3rd and 4th graders were having heart attacks at the thought of writing more than 3 paragraphs today...this would have made it easier!

    -Maria
    Everyone deServes to Learn

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  3. This 4th grade teacher would worship the ground you walk on if you taught my incoming 4th graders expository. I may even share your lesson with my 3rd grade teachers.

    By the way...Mrs. R is awesome! I have another reason for your list. She used to check my hair for lice whenever I freaked out, because one of my students had lice.

    Kristin
    Teachntex

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  4. I sent the link to your post to my BFF 4th grade teacher and promised her that we would do this activity straight away on Monday morning. Being the superstar teacher she is, she told me she already saw the post and had sent it me! Loving your blog here in Belgium!
    Joanne M

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  5. I love the good kind of loud in my classroom, and it makes me LOVE the good kind of quiet when I get home. ;)Great lesson! I'm grabbing your button to display on my blog. :)
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

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  6. Need more 3rd grade teachers like you; I would really worship the ground you walk on if you were at my school!!!

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  7. Thank you so much for this post! I am in my first year teaching and making up the writing curriculum as I go. Love this and will use it as I intro my 3rd grade kiddo's into expository writing.

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  8. Thank you so much for this post! I am in my first year teaching and making up the writing curriculum as I go. Love this and will use it as I intro my 3rd grade kiddo's into expository writing.

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