Do you find your students asking, "I never know how to start my essay?" As a middle school teacher, I hear this frequently. This year, I decided to give them some tools to begin an extended response. I introduced the lesson as the students were going to visit a buffet and could select whatever they'd like. Then, I went on to explain that it was an "ELA Buffet" (insert groans here). But, the purpose of the lesson was to introduce them to strategies to find a few that might help them. They would not need to master every technique presented. My seventh grade students had fun with this lesson. They enjoyed the writing prompts and produced some quality work. I presented this lesson to my English department and teachers from 3-12 found this lesson compelling. Of course it would have to be appropriately adjusted for the grade level, but this reading level would be suitable for grades 5-9.
There is a 10 page document on this site that corresponds with the lesson perfectly.
This is a 47 slide PowerPoint presentation modeling and preparing students to write introductions(leads) and conclusions that echo one another. The lesson is based from the book, "10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know".
The lesson begins with comparing some artwork and viewing a short video (you would have to find on YouTube) demonstrating conclusions which echo their leads. The document includes examples of strong leads and conclusions, the type of lead and conclusion that is being shown, and worksheets to practice writing leads and conclusions using the strategies presented. There is a creative activity where students used a magazine clipping as a prompt. At the end, there is a "Comparison Writing" essay prompt which asks the students to compare two articles, of your choice, and implement the strategies taught in the lesson.