Teaching students how to write a literary essay can be challenging, especially in the beginning stages. The writing workshop model stresses collecting entries and big ideas first in writing notebooks first. After reading a short story aloud to your class, provide them with a copy of the story's text. Great short stories for literary essays are Enemy Pie, Fireflies! and Marble Champ! Copy my organizer sheet back to back and provide that as a guide to assist the students with their brainstorming. It completely guides them through their big idea. It has all the sentence starters they need! They can select from deciding to write about the character's traits, motivations or even theme. There is an sentence organizer for each one! You can model with sheet, and then have the students try it out independently. After a few days of this activity, your students will have a great section of big ideas to select from when deciding what idea they want their literary essay to be on.