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Expressive Essay Structure

Outlining Essays (Grades 3-6)


Brainstorm before you start writing.

Teach students to brainstorm story ideas in preparation of writing an expressive essay.

OBJECTIVE
Students will brainstorm story ideas in preparation of writing an expressive essay.

MATERIALS

  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Dry erase board (optional)
  • Dry erase markers (optional)

REPRODUCIBLES

  1. Outlining Essays (Grades 3-6) Student Reproducible

DIRECTIONS
1. Review the definition of personal expressive writing (writing that allows you to express your own thoughts and feelings through a letter, journal, essay, etc.) with students. Tell students that they will be preparing to write their own expressive essay on the topic: Why does your teacher deserve a classroom makeover?
Lead a discussion about the elements that make up an expressive essay. Use the following example to illustrate these elements:

Introduction: Begin your essay by stating the main idea. In an expressive essay, the main idea will be a personal experience, belief, or feeling that is meaningful to you. One way to hook your reader is to express your main idea with a short personal account of an important event in your life.

Body: The body of your essay supports your main idea by using examples. Be sure to describe your examples clearly so that your reader will understand your position, or point of view.

Conclusion: The conclusion of your essay should summarize your main idea. Restate your feelings and beliefs to make sure your main idea is understood.

2. Distribute copies of Outlining Essays (Grades 3-6) Student Reproducible (PDF). Have students complete their outlines in preparation for writing an essay in Lesson 2.

LESSON EXTENSION
Bonus Challenge: Have students make a graphic organizer to plan their essay. They may begin by writing their main idea in a circle. They may add additional circles or "webs" to describe their supporting details and conclusion.

Marker Tips: Illustrate outlines on the dry erase board. Have students take turns using different colored dry erase markers to fill in the title, main idea, opening sentence, details 1-3, and summary sentence.


Photos, top to bottom: © Image 100/Getty Images; © Photodisc/Getty Images.

Narrative Essays

Summary:

The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

Contributors: Jack Baker, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2013-07-30 01:39:00

What is a narrative essay?

When writing a narrative essay, one might think of it as telling a story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal—allowing students to express themselves in a creative and, quite often, moving ways.

Here are some guidelines for writing a narrative essay.

  • If written as a story, the essay should include all the parts of a story.

This means that you must include an introduction, plot, characters, setting, climax, and conclusion.

  • When would a narrative essay not be written as a story?

A good example of this is when an instructor asks a student to write a book report. Obviously, this would not necessarily follow the pattern of a story and would focus on providing an informative narrative for the reader.

  • The essay should have a purpose.

Make a point! Think of this as the thesis of your story. If there is no point to what you are narrating, why narrate it at all?

  • The essay should be written from a clear point of view.

It is quite common for narrative essays to be written from the standpoint of the author; however, this is not the sole perspective to be considered. Creativity in narrative essays often times manifests itself in the form of authorial perspective.

  • Use clear and concise language throughout the essay.

Much like the descriptive essay, narrative essays are effective when the language is carefully, particularly, and artfully chosen. Use specific language to evoke specific emotions and senses in the reader.

  • The use of the first person pronoun ‘I’ is welcomed.

Do not abuse this guideline! Though it is welcomed it is not necessary—nor should it be overused for lack of clearer diction.

Have a clear introduction that sets the tone for the remainder of the essay. Do not leave the reader guessing about the purpose of your narrative. Remember, you are in control of the essay, so guide it where you desire (just make sure your audience can follow your lead).

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