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.
Great tips for getting started teaching expository writing to your third and fourth graders.

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:
•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.