Help your students prepare for the state timed writing assessment while practicing thesis statements and essay planning.
Planning is so crucial to a cohesive essay, and this activity allows students to practice this important skill, while encouraging them to use their time efficiently so that the bulk of their effort can be devoted to the actual writing stage of the process.
In this activity, students are provided a prompt and then given ten minutes to identify the type of prompt (informative or argumentative) and create an outline. They develop a thesis statement and three topic sentences for their body paragraphs, including a counterclaim if the prompt is argumentative. When time is up, students share their work and discuss strengths and ideas for improvement. Afterwards, a model outline is provided, demonstrating different ways to effectively and quickly plan for each type of writing. Finally, a wide variety of additional prompts are included for further practice.
Included as both a fully editable PowerPoint activity as well as a PDF to ensure compatibility. Also includes an essay planning handout as well as rubrics similar to those used in state exams—should you choose to have your students write a full essay.
Works well as an individual, pair or small group activity. Each prompt can be used for a full lesson or as a warm-up. And because there is simply not time enough to always write and grade essays, this is the perfect activity to keep your students continually practicing the most important skills.
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Keywords: Writing assessment, timed writing, thesis statement, essay organization, planning an essay, essay writing, essay planning, developing a thesis statement, test preparation, writing test preparation, state assessment preparation, ELA test prep, argumentative essay, informational essay, informative essay, explanatory essay, PARCC, STAAR, AIR, FSA, CCSS, Common Core writing assessment