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We celebrate teachers who have created their own websites about teaching writing:


Corbett's
Always Write
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(Grades K-12)



Jodie's
Start to Learn
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(Kindergarten)



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Making Mathematicians
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Learning is Messy
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(Grades 4-6)



Dena's
Write in the Middle
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(Grades 6-8)

Writing Genres: Model Expository/Informative Lessons
lessons, resources, and ideas from one of the NNWP's inservice workshops

Here we grow again. WritingFix gets bigger every year, so that we can become an even more comprehensive on-line resource.

Why a class specifically on expository writing? Well, big changes have come to Nevada's Writing Exam. Our eighth grade writing test, which has been historically narrative in nature, will be changing to an expository prompt for 2011. The rubrics will change, and many of our sixth through eighth grade teachers will need to "bone up" a little on expository practice as we find ways to better prepare our students in the face of this change.

Our two workshops in 2010-2011 will feature demonstration lessons that are designed to inspire the participants; those lessons are posted below. Each participant in this workshop will also receive a copy of Gretchen Bernabei's wonderful book, Reviving The Essay: How To Teach Structure Without Formula.

Energized by both the book and the demonstration lessons, participants will be asked to create an original resource or a lesson for teaching expository writing, and the best of those lessons and resources will be posted at this page for anyone to find and use.

Please enjoy and freely make use of the resources found on this page. If you appreciate the work we're doing at WritingFix, be sure to share our web address with your teacher friends.

On this Page:
Demonstration
Lessons

from our Expository Workshops for Teachers
Expository
Practice Prompts

for students who are tested with expository prompts
Organization:
Our Expository Focus Trait

for focusing instruction on the sub-skills of the writing traits
Expository
Resource Exchange

a chance to "share back" with WritingFix and earn an NNWP resource

Have you joined yet?
Writing
Lesson of the Month Network !

Hey teachers! Each month, we e-mail one of WritingFix's best lessons to members of our "Writing Lesson of the Month" Network.

To receive these free monthly e-mails, you must first join our e-mail network by clicking here and creating a profile.


Click here to see our list of favorite books.

Six Demonstration Lessons Featured at our Expository/Informative Writing Inservice Class

Lesson: Pros, Cons, and Hooks

Mentor Text: How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long

Focus Trait: Organization
Support Trait: Sentence Fluency

Lesson Author: Penny Sanchez, Northern Nevada elementary teacher

Expository...How so? Students create a four-part essay, examining the pros and cons of a job (past, present, or future) they have researched.

Lesson: Truth Be Told

Mentor Text: Fox by Margaret Wild

Focus Trait: Idea Development
Support Trait: Organization

Lesson Author: Caroline Hatcher, Northern Nevada Writing Project Consultant

Expository...How so? "Truisms" is an idea explored in Gretchen Bernabei's book Revising the Essay: How to Teach Structure without Formula. A truism is a technique for teaching students about writing a thesis. This lesson has students write an essay about a truism discovered in a pretty unique picture book.

Lesson: A Revised Explanation of a Game

Mentor Text: The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn & Hal Iggulden

Focus Trait: Voice
Support Trait: Organization

Lesson Author: Corbett Harrison, Northern Nevada Writing Project Consultant

Expository...How so? Students revise a an explanation of how to play a game so that includes more voice.

Lesson: What's Your Fifth Element?

Mentor Text: The Snow Walker by Farley Mowat

Focus Trait: Organization
Support Trait: Voice

Lesson Author: Carol Lubet, Northern Nevada Writing Project Consultant

Expository...How so? Students create an essay where three solid reasons are discussed in order to convince the audience of a modern item's importance to the world.

Lesson: Where is the Love?

Focus Trait: Idea Development
Support Trait: Voice

Lesson Author: Abby Olde, Northern Nevada Writing Project Consultant

Expository...How so? Students create a five-paragraph essay (based on a persuasive argument) about an injustice in the world.

Lesson: This I Believe...Oceans

Focus Trait: Voice
Support Trait: Organization

Lesson Author: Yvette Deighton, Northern Nevada Writing Project Consultant

Expository...How so? Students create an essay (in the form of a this i believe speech) after researching environmental issues related to oceans. This lesson could be used with other topics of research besides oceans.

Northern Nevada Writing Project Consultants:
We're looking for additional, original expository lessons to be featured here at later versions of this workshop.
Design one that we can post here, and you will asked to present it (for pay) at a future version of this developing workshop. Contact Kim Cuevas, if interested.

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Expository Practice Resources for Nevada Students Preparing for their Writing Examination


In Nevada, we've created a set of resources that help our middle school teachers assign and assess three practice prompts from their students during the spring. We encourage teachers to promptly share the data with their students so that student writers can set writing goals for their next practice prompt as well as learn how writing is scored for the state test.

We encourage teachers to, during four or five weeks between the three practice prompts, provide expository-specific trait instruction that will help their students meet their writing goals.

Click here to access all the practice prompt and instructional materials we've created for seventh grade teachers and writers.
  • Seventh-grade Practice Prompt #1: We all experience stressful times in our lives.  Name three strategies you use to overcome stress and explain how they help you.
  • Seventh-grade Practice Prompt #2: Friendships are important to middle school students.  Write a definition of what your friends mean to you and be sure to include examples.
  • Seventh-grade Practice Prompt #3: A rainy day doesn't have to be bad.  Some people like rainy days. Explain how to turn a rainy day into a good day.


In Nevada, we've created a set of resources that help our middle school teachers assign and assess three practice prompts from their students during the fall. We encourage teachers to promptly share the data with their students so that student writers can set writing goals for their next practice prompt as well as learn how writing is scored for the state test.

We encourage teachers to, during four or five weeks between the three practice prompts, provide expository-specific trait instruction that will help their students meet their writing goals.

Click here to access all the practice prompt and instructional materials we've created for eighth grade teachers and writers.
  • Eighth-grade Practice Prompt #1: Think about a game you enjoy. You reader has never played the game but wants to learn. In a report, describe the game and explain how it is played. Be sure to explain the rules, the equipment, the number of players, and anything else your reader might need to know to play the game.
  • Eighth-grade Practice Prompt #2: Books, movies, and television can offer opportunities to learn valuable lessons. Write about a lesson learned from a book, movie, or television show that proved to be of value to you.
  • Eighth-grade Practice Prompt #3: You know a lot about different things. Pick one thing on which you are an expert or know a lot about. For example, it could be an illness, a hobby, or a place. Write a paper that explains what you know a lot about. Be sure to organize your thoughts into paragraphs.

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Organization: A Focus Trait for Expository Instruction


When designing lessons for the expository genre, one of the six traits--organization--stands out as a trait to focus on. Our expository workshop asks teachers to always make sure they are including mini-lessons on organization to help students pick up new skills.

In 2005, Teacher Consultants from the Northern Nevada Writing Project worked together to create the NNWP's most-popular-to-date print resource for teachers: The Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Guide. This guide is used by teacher participants during many of the NNWP's trait-based inservice classes for teachers, and schools using the collaborative team model of professional development (PLCs) have been delighted to find that the contains dozens of discussion questions throughout the resource that inspire teachers to talk to each other as they examine their own use of trait vocabulary when they teach writing.


Below are two complimentary resources on organization from the NNWP's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Guide:

Replicate this tool for Revising Expository:

A Post-it Checklist for Expository Writing


Teach them to Sing!
The Organization Song
(created by the NNWP's Terry Stelle)

Support the NNWP--who provide WritingFix to you at no charge!
Purchase a copy of their Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Guide

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WritingFix Expository Exchange: Teachers Sharing Original Classroom Tools & Artifacts

At WritingFix, we have shared classroom ideas freely since 2001. Recently, we began asking the world to share back with us. We are seeking complete lessons, resources, and student samples, and we send complimentary copies of NNWP Publications to teachers who share ideas that ultimately get posted at WritingFix.

This is your opportunity to share back with us and possibly earn a classroom resource from the Northern Nevada Writing Project. Below are the types of tools we are seeking to include on this expository resource page:

We're Currently Seeking Three Types of Expository Resources
Share and you could earn a complimentary copy of one of the NNWP Print Guides!

Share original classroom
Graphic Organizers
that you've created for
teaching expository writing

When teaching organization to beginning writers, a graphic organizer is almost essential. Eventually you teach students to create their own graphic organizers for writing, but to get students to that point, they need to work with a variety of teacher-provided graphic organizers.

True enough, there are plenty of books-for-purchase with graphic organizers in them. We know that many teachers adapt and create original g.o.'s inspired by these types of resources.

If you have created an original or an original adaptation of an expository-specific graphic organizer, you can share it here.

Share student
Expository Writing Samples
from your writers who excelled with one of your lessons or one of the lessons from Reviving the Essay

There are many types of expository writing, and we are now collecting samples of any to post here at WritingFix. If you've taught your students to write comparison/contrast essays, cause/effect essays, lessons described in Gretchen Bernabei's awesome book of fresh ideas, or any expository writing assignment you've inspired a student do do his/her best, we want to feature that sample here on this page.

You can share up to three polished student samples by clicking here.

Share reviews of
Mentor Texts
that you use when teaching your students
to craft expository writing

Narrative mentor texts are pretty easy to find. It's a bit more difficult to find expository mentor texts; if you've ever searched, you'll most likely agree with this.

The lessons posted on this page all make use of a mentor text. A mentor text is a published piece of writing whose idea, whose structure, or whose written craft can inspire a student writing. A mentor text can be a whole text or a small excerpt from one.

If you have a favorite mentor text you use to inspire expository writing skills, you can share a review and explanation of how you use it here.

 

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Copyright 2014 - Corbett & Dena Harrison, Educational Consultants, LLC, and WritingFix- All Rights Reserved.
Please, share the resources you find on these pages freely with fellow educators, but please leave any page citations on handouts intact, and please give authorship credit to the cited teachers who created these wonderful lessons and resources. Thanks in advance for honoring other educators' intellectual property.

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