I find this expository essay to be a great one to start early in the semester. The topic is one that every student is familar with and we can get down to the basics of writing an expository essay and organization without much pre-planning or introduction.
The first part of the assignment is the thinking map to get them started on the introductory paragraph and to organize the body of the paper in the next three paragraphs. This is followed by a conclusion.
The next part of the assignment is the student rubric that they use to check and make sure they met all the major expectations for the assignment. My students staple both parts to their essay when they turn it in. The whole assignment from start to finish takes high school students about 60 to 80 minutes. It gives me an idea how well they write from the start of the year, how well they follow directions, and how quickly and independently they can get to work.