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  • Essay Writing: The Personal/Narrative/Expository/Persuasive

    "The continuous movement back and forth from specific instance to general significance, from fact to

    meaning, from the sensory and emotional to the intellectual-such is the art of the essay."

    --Carol Burke and Molly Best Tinsley, The Creative Process

    Genre and Characteristics

    Prompts Examples

    Note how an expository or persuasive essay is often ALSO a personal essay or narrative. The writing CAN, and often is, both.

    Do not collect and grade these. Follow the first step in the creative processbrainstorming.

    Provide open-ended prompts for students so they learn to create topics on their own.

    Give 5-10 minutes every day to write and share

    YOU MUST write and share with the students

    Brainstorm using these prompts for a few days then choose one to polish and turn in as a draft on Monday.

    Use real world examples of writing in these genres instead of previous test samples

    Look at transitionsnote how varied they arenot from a list or a chart

    Notice how thesis statements and topic sentences are often implied, not stated

    Conclusions do not often restate

    Note how the organizational pattern is rarely just one type and not always clear.

    Notice how the types merge, blend.

    See the PERSONAL in all of them.

    Personal Essay Through the writers words we learn something new about the world, or an experience. The writer can employ a lot of techniques to make this happen.

    The only rule is that the responses have to be based on something true related to you.

    A-Z (write an A-Z piecefirst sentence starts with A, second with B, etc.)

    I believe (make a list- read an example or two)




    3 incidents involving hair

    List all the sounds you love and hate

    George Orwell: Shooting an Elephant Tony Hawk: Do What You Love Yasir Billoo: The Right to Be Fully American Howard White: The Power of Hello Patrick Welsh: txting away ur education ----------------------------------------------- Places to find more articles:

    ECNing Wiki collection of articles

    Kelly Gallagher Site for Article of the Week

    New York Times in Education

    English Teachers Friend Delicious Tag

    Time Magazine Online

    NPR This I Believe Essays

    ----------------------------------------------- Publication: Enter your This I Believe Essay See the PUBLICATION page for updates to markets and contests that publish student work.

    Personal Narrative the goal is to instruct, to help others in their understanding of something through an episode from the writers experiences using story

    The only rule is that the responses have to be based on something true related to you.

    a small moment



    they never even knew

    it wasnt the best idea

    Expository inform, explain, describe, or define the subject to the reader

    a tool

    made with two hands

    my name

    a place

    heres how it works Persuasive convince the reader to perform an action, or convince the reader of your point of view

    Is technology improving communication or hurting it?


    Teenager or adult?

    The best ___ is ____ (make a list of as many as you canlater choose one to write about)

  • EDNAs Shoe: An exercise to define types of writing

    Directions: Ask a student to volunteer his/her shoe

    for the class. Place the shoe on top of a desk or place

    where everyone can see it. Present the acronym EDNA

    to the students and have them copy it.


    Expository Descriptive Narrative Argumentative


    Expository Explain that this is now Ednas shoe. And the first part is to explain the purpose of the shoe. That is the E- expository. Expository writing informs or explains the author's subject to the reader. In this case, the students are going to Explain the purpose of the shoe. Set the timer for 3 minutes and tell them to write as much as they can in that 3 minutes. Take a minute to share. Make sure they are writing in expository form.

    Descriptive Now they will write for 5 minutes. Set the timer. And this time they will write to describe the shoe. Remind them to use all their senses and figurative language. Take a few minutes to share. Be sure they are writing descriptively.

    Narrative Next they will write the narrative, the story, about the shoe. Be creative. Use dialogue. Include a setting and characters. Set the time for 8 minutes. Challenge them to write the entire time. Take a few minutes to share. Be sure they have understood narrative writing.

    Argumentative Finally, they are going to write the argument about the shoe. Edna doesnt want her shoe back. She wants to leave it here and go buy another pair. Convince, persuade her to keep THIS shoe. Use humor, sarcasm, sincerity, sympathy, reasons. Set the timer for 10 minutes and challenge students to write for the entire time. Take a few minutes to share. Address the characteristics of the Argumentative essay. Explain that it is also called Persuasive essays. Review all the types. Give student back his/her shoe. DAY TWO: Discuss that idea that essays can often combine these elements. Ask students to look back through their papers to see if they did this. Perhaps they argued (argumentative) to keep the shoe by using a story (narrative). Maybe by explaining how the shoe works (expository), they also described it in rich detail (descriptive). Ask them to write for 15 minutes. Their topic is shoe. No other requirements. They can pull ideas from any of the things they wrote yesterday or create something brand new. When they are finished, share with a partner, see if they can define the types used and label as such.

  • Tamara Doehring Six Traits of Writing and Beyond

    A Quick LOOK at the Writing Process

    Observing: question and notice details in the world Pay special attention to the little details in your surroundings and think about something you can write about in class.

    Brainstorming/Prewriting Brainstorm a list of all the things you noticed that you could write about. Choose a few from your list and add a few more details or ideas to each.

    Drafting Write a brief paragraph about one of the ideas you wrote down.

    Revising Look over your piece and change to better verbs and nouns. Add any details you might have left out. Remove anything that seems unnecessary.

    Sharing Ask a peer to look at your paragraph and suggest a way to improve. Read it aloud to hear the fluency.

    Revising Make changes suggested by peers and any other changes you feel are necessary. Read aloud again to listen for fluency--change sentence structure and/ or length to improve fluency.

    Final Revision and Editing Check carefully for any spelling and/or grammatical mistakes. Publishing Write a final version as neatly as possible and place a copyright symbol next to your name.

    You must engage in frequent and

    authentic writing to truly understand the process. There are no



  • Wood Polish I never go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Ever. I can sleep through anything. I don't know why I did that night. Passing to the bathroom, I stopped on the landing that faces the first floor. My mother was sobbing, which was no surprise. Shes never been quiet or easy to hide. When she lived with us, I never had a friend inside the house. Not once. It was filled with piles of trash. We put the Christmas tree up on a pile of trash, if it went up at all. After she left, my dad took 64 large trash bags out of the house from her room alone. I dont even know what the stuff was. None of it was mine. I would let my room get really messy, just like the rest of the house, but then I'd go on a cleaning spree. I'd use wood polish on everything, including the windows, because I thought it smelled like home where a mother lived. And then Id shut my door, sit on my bed and gorge on my domestic cleanliness. Id bloat myself with it and blur my vision as I passed through the rest of the house. I was in this state when I got to the kitchen. The crying was louder, so I knew I was in the right place. I unblurred my eyes a little and saw little white dots all over the counter and in the sink. Focus, focus. They were pills. Prescription medication from my father's back surgery and some others I didnt recognize. She was on the floor, in a heap, her obese limbs tangled in themselves, helpless. The phone was off the hook. "Hello?" I asked tentatively into the mouth piece. "Kristen! Oh!..." I recognized my grandmother's voice at once. The "oh" said everything: "I'm so glad someone found her!" and "I'm so sorry you just walked down on your mother dying." But all she said was, "I called an ambulance." I hung up and walked back upstairs to my sister's room. I sat on the edge of her bed for a few seconds and then grabbed her big toe and pulled. I whispered, "Mom tried to kill herself. Come help me get her ready for the a