Generating Ideas for Explanatory Essay By Thinking About Our Beliefs

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SWBAT start planning an expository essay by generating ideas from their own beliefs.

Big Idea

What do you Believe?

Lesson Opener

10 minutes

In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling, I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.

Connect:  I will say, “Yesterday we read published explanatory essays, now that we have a good idea about the genre of expository essay, today you are going to generate ideas in order to start planning your own essays.”

Teach: I will say, I am going to practice the skill of generating ideas for essay. I am going to use the strategy of using a two column chart (What I Believe/Why I Believe It). The process I will use is as follows:

1) Use the Issues Anchor Chart

2) Ask myself: What Do I Believe About Certain Issues? Why do I Believe It?

3) Jot down your ideas with 3 reasons.”

I will jot down my at least two of my ideas that kids can connect to. Ones that I usually use are; “I believe school is important/I believe this because you need an education to have a good job, good life and to understand the world around you. I believe friends make life fun/I believe this because my friends and I go shopping, we tell each other secrets and we eat meals together.” I jot down 3 reasons because after two days of brainstorming, the students are going to start thinking in claim, reasons and evidence, in which they need three reasons.  

Active Engagement

5 minutes

Active Engagement: I will say, ““Now you are going to jot down this chart in your notebook and jot down at least 3 ideas you have.” I will check for understanding by asking every level of learner (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). Ensure that students are jotting down ideas that will help them write a clear claim with reasons and evidence from their own lives.

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember successful writers practice the skill of generating ideas for their essay. They use the strategy of using an organizational chart. The process they use is as follows: they use resources, they ask themselves: “What Do I Believe About Certain Issues? Why do I Believe It” and they jot down their ideas.


Independent Practice

25 minutes

Independent Practice: I will say, students will brainstorm for at least five more minutes until they land on a moment in which they feel they can explain well; one in which they have three reasons. You will then direct them to write out at least one moment that will serve as evidence for a claim. They should write for at least 20 minutes if not more. I remind them to use their notebooks as resources. They can write multiple moments within this time if they get stuck on one. I will confer with them as they write using the possible conferences for generating ideas for essays chart.

Partner Work: Students will be directed to turn and share one of the ideas they have brainstormed and the three reasons. I will say, “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A you will share your belief and three reasons. Partner B, I want you to listen if Part A was had three reasons. Then you give them feedback. I should hear your say, “I heard three reasons….or maybe you could add….for a reason.” Then you will switch.”


5 minutes

I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an “exit ticket” in which students write down the response to a question.

Closing: For closing today I will ask, “What is one belief you wrote down today? What are three reasons you have that belief?”