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This is an essay that I assign after I teach my lessons on paragraph writing. I teach the students main idea/supporting details, paragraph unity, and essay organization. I then assign this basic 5 paragraph essay on "Unique Creatures." The topic is simple and straightforward, so that the students and I can focus on the SKILLS rather than the content completely. I chose unique creatures rather than animals because this is more exciting for the students (and me too!).
The essay calls for students to pick one "Unique Creature" from the list provided. Creatures include various animals and insects that they probably have never heard of (and a few that they may have). There are 52 unique creatures to choose from. On this document, I also include the objective, method, grading (rubric included), and the requirements. I also include a detailed outline of each of the 5 paragraphs (what students should be putting in each paragraph). After students select their creature, they can begin writing.
I originally designed this for my struggling 7th graders, who do not know how to form a proper paragraph or write an essay. I would suggest that you use this for younger grades 3, 4, and 5 if essay writing is new to them, OR older grades such as 6, 7, 8, and even 9 if they need this skills review.
Personally, I do not allow students to pick the same creature. Then, I have students create a short power point to present to the class what they have learned. This is just a suggestion (no powerpoint guidelines are included in this purchase).