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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.

Time To Complete 

1-3 Hours

Common Core Standards 

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

I Can Statements 

  • I will know my exploration of expository writing is of high quality when:
    • I can identify the elements that define expository writing, such as main idea or thesis and supporting details.

Suggestions for Assessing Student Readiness to Move Forward:

  • Confer with students to check their understanding of the elements of expository writing.
  • Provide students an anchor text and ask them to code or otherwise identify the elements of expository writing.
Possible Activities 
  1. Conduct a mini-lesson on expository essays, describing the key organizational structure, form, and approach.

  2. Provide several exemplars and ask students to examine two or three of them by creating a list of similarities in structure, craft, and form. Or use a jigsaw format, where students work in groups, and each group reads texts about the genre of expository writing and examines a different exemplar. Reorganize the groups so that the new groups each have one representative from the former group, and each representative shares their learning with the others in this new group, to create a collective understanding of the genre. 

  3. Coding the Text—Students read two exemplars and put the following codes on the elements they discover:

    • IT=Introduction of the topic
    • TS=Thesis statement
    • S=Supporting facts, details, and examples
    • T=Transition sentences
    • OS=Evidence of organizational structure
    • CP=Conclusion about the position
Downloadable Resources 
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