This activity can be used after your class has covered several types of essays. Students are given seven topics. For each one, they develop a thesis statement and a plan for composing a definition, cause/effect, process analysis, and compare/contrast essay. An example is included at the top of the page. This file can be edited, so you can change it to fit the modes of development you've covered.
For me, this activity is what made it all come together for my students. In the real world, writers are not told to compose a compare/contrast essay--they have to make that decision according to their topic. After my students completed the activity, we had great discussion over which mode of development works best for each topic.