This plan is probably one of the easiest to follow that I have made in my 14 years as a writing consultant and teacher!
(Permission to make class copies with each purpose)
The palm represents: Purpose, Prompt and Central Idea Statement, Controlling Idea Statement, Thesis Statement, OR Position Statement along with whatever you do to W.O.W you reader. These details are usually in the introduction.
The thumb stands for: Why? What is the reason you chose that idea? This finger starts the body of the essay.
The pointer finger is for your first point or example. What example can you give to support your reason? For elementary students, a personal or hypothetical example would suffice. For secondary kids, they can also add current or historical events/situations as an example. They just have to remember the examples have to relate to each other, the reason, and the idea in order to do well on STAAR.
The middle finger is where most students fall short in expository and persuasive. The forget that the key to the body is explaining your examples or reasons. They can use what I call I.F. details (Information and Facts) such as Why, What, Who, When, Where, Which, & How to add details/sentences for each example. For STAAR this section is to help with the development portion of the rubric. Your kids can't make lists. They must spend a paragraph on each reason or example, not just one to three sentences.
The ring finger represents choosing the words carefully, which is where the high vocabulary and voice will come into play. When your strongest students end up with threes from each grader instead of fours, it is usually because the essay is missing the aspects of this finger, how to "engage" the reader and keep them that way.
The last finger is the pinky for the ending or conclusion. This section is what I call the leftovers section if all your students do is repeat or restate everything they have written in the body or introduction. There is nothing creative or unique in asking students to rewrite things they have already written. Try to get them to write dessert for their conclusions, that rephrase and/or reflect something about the topic, idea, examples, and/or the way they were explained. The biggest difference between expository and persuasive here is that in expository you just want to find out how life is different, better, or worse based on whatever was written about in the essay. For persuasive, you want your kids to exhort the reader, evoke or encourage change in their endings, all of which happen to start with the letter E, the last letter in the word persuasive!