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.
This product is a zip file which includes 3 PDF files that correspond with the 42 slide PowerPoint presentation.
There is a second PowerPoint with 10 slides which can be printed out and hung on a bulletin board in the classroom that state the ten lead types.
There are three PDF files ready to print with keys:
The first PDF is a 4 page document (with key) “Framing Leads and Conclusions”. This describes how leads and conclusions frame an essay. The second 2 page document is a worksheet that require the students to determine lead types. It uses fiction and non-fiction excerpts to illustrate this. This also includes a key. The third PDF is framing your lead with a corresponding conclusion. Students will be given examples of different types of leads and create corresponding conclusions. There are a few photographs showing some student examples. I left these lessons for a substitute when I had to be out for four days in a row. The lessons were self explanatory and real learning took place while I was out of the classroom.
The lesson(s) are based from the book, "10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know" by Jeff Anderson. 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 conclusion of the PowerPoint presentation.