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Expository/Informative Essay

Description 

The Expository/Informative Essay Performance Task Guide supports educators in guiding students through a process of creating and sharing an essay that explains how to do something, gives information about a topic, or describes something.

Students will be expected to write a range of expository essays in college — often as final or midterm exams — that demonstrate their ability to organize and analyze content, and communicate complex ideas clearly and accurately. In professional settings, expository writing takes many forms. Doctors and other health care professionals use expository writing both within their field and to communicate medical advances with the public. Lawyers prepare legal briefings that carefully construct the details of a case. Scientific and historical journals communicate advances in their respective fields.

Opportunities for Student Choice 

Student choice can be encouraged in a number of ways. Students can choose the topic and what facts and information to include. They can also choose the resources they review, as well as the audience.

Authentic Task 

Expository essays are written in many professions. A briefing in any field to others in the field is done in the form of an expository essay, as is a presentation of the facts in a legal case. Scientific and historical journals are composed of expository writing, as are textbooks and encyclopedias. Doctors and other health care professionals use expository writing both within their field and to communicate medical advances with the public.

Opportunities for Exhibition to an Audience 

There are many possible audiences for position papers: if students are working on a school topic it might be an assembly; if it's a community topic they might present at a city council meeting or at town hall. Students can submit essays to a newspaper, or they can create a guest blog post. Students can create their own class wiki, or put their papers together into a book on a self-publishing site like blurb.com. Students might also submit a paper to a conference.

Downloadable Resources 
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Explore the Genre of Expository Writing

What is an expository essay?
Develop a clear enough understanding of the characteristics of this genre to be able to explain your understanding to others.

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.1
  • CCRA.R.2
  • CCRA.R.4

Time To Complete 

1-3 Hours

Expository/Informational Writing Performance Tasks Rubric

What are the expectations for this performance task?  

Each performance task has a single-point rubric, which lays out the expectations for college-and career-ready performance. This type of rubric allows teachers to provide specific, focused feedback without limiting students’ creativity or putting a ceiling on their...

Choose a Topic_EXP

What makes for a good expository paper topic?
Identify an issue, or a topic within a larger issue, that you either feel strongly about or wonder

 

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.7

Time To Complete 

1-3 hours

Determine Your Audience_EXP

Who am I speaking to and what do I want to accomplish?
Determine who the audience of the essay is and what you want them to learn/understand about your topic. 

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.L.3
  • CCRA.W.4

Time To Complete 

1 hour

Determine Your Purpose_EXP

What do I want my writing to accomplish?
Determine what you want to get your audience to know or do based on reading your essay.

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.L.3
  • CCRA.SL.4
  • CCRA.W.4

Time To Complete 

1 Day

Research the Issue_EXP

What do people know, say, and believe about this issue or topic?
Find and analyze resources that will help you grasp the topic’s key concepts, in addition to deepening your understanding of the topic.

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.2
  • CCRA.W.1

Time To Complete 

1-3 hours

Create a Thesis Statement_EXP

What is your main point in writing the expository essay?
Consider the research you have undertaken, and use it to inform the crafting of an evidence-based statement on the issue

 

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.8
  • CCRA.W.1

Time To Complete 

1 hour

Determine/Find and Organize Relevant Facts, Details and Explanations_EXP

What information have you discovered that supports your thesis on this topic?  How do you think about the information that undermines your position?
Review your notes and find compelling quotes, facts, statistics, interviews, “artifacts”, and personal stories that support your thesis. Keep track of those that...

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.W.1
  • CCRA.W.4

Time To Complete 

1-4 hours

Outline and Draft_EXP

How can you figure out what you want to say, and how to say it in the most compelling and convincing way possible?
Find a way to organize your thoughts about the topic and the supporting evidence you have collected. Use the writing process to construct your first draft.

 

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.W.1
  • CCRA.W.4

Time To Complete 

2-5 hours

Giving and Receiving Feedback_EXP

How do authors collaborate to improve their writing?
Give and receive feedback that is focused and constructive, and that will help the author improve their draft.

 

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.SL.1
  • CCRA.SL.3
  • CCRA.W.5

Time To Complete 

1 Day

Revise_EXP

How can you improve your draft?
Using feedback from a peer and/or teacher, strengthen your draft by ensuring your facts and details are relevant, your organization is clear and strong, and your use of voice is strong and appropriate to the audience. 

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.W.4
  • CCRA.W.5

Time To Complete 

3-5 hours

Edit_EXP

How can you improve your draft?
Using feedback from a peer and/or teacher, strengthen your presentation with a focus on grammar and professional language.

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.W.4
  • CCRA.W.5

Time To Complete 

2 hours

Executive Summary_EXP

If you had two minutes to tell someone about your issue and your position on it, what would you say?
Create a document that prepares you to present the essential points of your expository essay to a larger audience.

 

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.W.6

Time To Complete 

2 hours