Standard Essay Structure

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Common Core Standards
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Standard Essay Structure
Rationale
In an era when standardized testing has become the norm, students are often evaluated on their ability to write an essay without allowing them the time to go through the stages of the writing process. They are asked to write an essay on the spot that will be evaluated for structure, content, and conventions. For anyone, even English teachers, this can be a daunting task.
In order to help students with this, I use daily sentence practice, freewrting, a unit on the writing process, a unit on standard essay format, a unit on writing personal narrative essays, and a unit on writing an argumentative essay in response to a prompt. This unit, “Standard Essay Format,” is the unit that is meant to teach students a basic structure that students could use to write essays for standardized testing.
My goal for this unit is not to insist that students follow the format for all essays. The structure is meant as a fall back strategy if they are unable to write an essay that comes organically from the prompt to which they are writing. I make sure that I reinforce this point throughout my teaching of this format in this unit and the units that I teach subsequently.
The sequence that I use to teach my writing class is as follows:
1. The Writing Process
2. Standard Essay Format
3. Personal Narrative Essay
4. Writing an Argumentative Essay in Response to a Prompt
5. Writing an Argumentative Essay Based on Research Using Procon.com

Goals
Standards of Learning Covered in Unit

9.6 The student will develop narrative, expository, and persuasive writings for a variety of audiences and purposes.
a) Generate, gather, and organize ideas for writing.
b) Plan and organize writing to address a specific audience and purpose.
c) Communicate clearly the purpose of the writing using a thesis statement where appropriate.
e) Elaborate ideas clearly through word choice and vivid description.
f) Arrange paragraphs into a logical progression.
g) Use transitions between paragraphs and ideas.

10.6 The student will develop a variety of writing to persuade, interpret, analyze, and
evaluate with an emphasis on exposition and analysis.
a) Generate, gather, plan, and organize ideas for writing to address a specific audience and purpose.
b) Synthesize information to support the thesis.
e) Organize ideas into a logical sequence using transitions.

11.6 The student will write in a variety of forms, with an emphasis on persuasion.
a) Generate, gather, plan, and organize ideas for writing to address a specific audience and purpose.
b) Produce arguments in writing developing a thesis that demonstrates knowledgeable judgments, addresses counterclaims, and provides effective conclusions.
c) Organize ideas in a sustained and logical manner.
d) Clarify and defend position with precise and relevant evidence elaborating ideas clearly and accurately.

Common Core Covered in Unit
Text Types and Purposes
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1d Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2a Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2b Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2e Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2f Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3a Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3b Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3c Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3d Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3e Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.
Production and Distribution of Writing
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

Range of Writing
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Grades 11—12
Text Types and Purposes
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2a Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2b Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2c Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2f Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3a Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3b Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3c Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution).
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3d Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
◦ CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3e Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.
Production and Distribution of Writing
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
Range of Writing
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.



General Goals Derived from Standards
Students will go through the writing process in a compressed time in an attempt to mirror the conditions of a standardized test.

Students will analyze a prompt to discern its intent.

Students will plan an essay using prewriting strategies.

Students will apply standard essay structure to an essay based on a prompt.

Students will revise an essay using five areas: ideas and development, organization, word choice, voice, and sentence fluency.

Students will edit an essay using a list of their most common errors.


Note: Ways to Approach the Unit
I have given you three ways to set up this unit. The first is to give students the student booklet without the sentences included. For this, you would give out the sentence packets each week. This is the method that I use because I find it easier to grade the sentences week by week.
The second method is to give the students the student booklet with sentences.
The third method is to give the materials out piece by piece as you progress through the unit. I have provided individual handouts for every individual set of notes, each handout that they are to fill out, and each test review. These are in the folders labeled for the major topics of the unit.
Total Pages
172
Answer Key
N/A
Teaching Duration
3 Weeks

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Standard Essay Structure
Standard Essay Structure
Standard Essay Structure
Standard Essay Structure
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