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8 Resources for Essay Writing that Make a Teacher’s Life Easier
What’s the toughest part of your work as an educator? You are used to teaching lessons… you already have the knowledge, so it’s not that difficult to express it. However, the task of motivating your students to write falls in another category. It’s hard for you to take control over the process and explain how they should infuse their creativity into the rigid form of academic writing. The following online resources will help you teach essay writing in a more inspiring way.
Essay Writing Lesson Plans
1. Schools rarely provide teachers with clear lesson plans on essay writing. You have full authority over this aspect of education, so you need to set clear goals that your students will achieve step by step. Scholastic offers lesson plans for all grades. You will discover resources that will help you cover the basics of academic writing, but you can continue using the same website when your students make progress.
Essay Writing Guide
2. This is an amazing app that has the elements of writing arranged around four interface wheels: Content, Style, Organization, and Mechanics. You can click on any term around the wheels to reveal a new page containing the definition of that term, instructions for proper use, and examples from the literary canon.
Write My Essay
3. You want your students to become great essay writers? Be a good example for them! Show unique samples on the topics you assign and tell your students how each part of the process is developed. You don’t have time to write papers? You can get them at this website! Custom writing service NinjaEssays assigns professional writers to the orders. They will complete a plagiarism-free paper tailored according to your instructions. Since you can monitor the project’s development, you’ll be able to explain to your students how the final result was achieved.
The blog at this website is another useful resource; you can recommend your students to enter contests and read tips that will boost their writing practices.
How to Teach Your Students to Write an Essay
4. Busy Teacher features a detailed guide that teaches educators how to teach essay writing. First, you need to understand the writing process before you can guide your students through it. Some teachers just assign a topic and expect everyone to deliver a perfect paper. Don’t do that! Academic writing is a complex skill that can only be developed under proper guidance. Rely on these tips to learn how to be there for your students through every stage of the process.
5. This interactive essay map, developed by ReadWriteThink, adds fun to the process of planning. Before they can start writing the actual essay, your students need to plan and organize its structure. They should develop a thesis and think of main arguments that will be supported with facts. This interactive essay mapping software asks students to write brief descriptions of the introduction, main ideas, supporting details, and conclusion. As a result, they will get a clear graphic outline that will make them more focused during the writing stages.
7. Time4Writing offers free writing resources in the form of printables, presentations, videos, and games. If you enable your students to obtain writing skills through fun and play, these projects won’t be overwhelming for them. The free resources are separated into categories according to the stages of the writing process.
How to Write Better Essays
8. It’s important to support your students with practical tips on essay writing. This guide recommends reading other people's essays, building vocabulary, develop precise arguments, etc. Each hint comes with a thorough explanation that will enable you to make the academic writing process easier for your students. As a result, they will understand the assignments not as a punishment, but as a chance to prove their skills and showcase their arguments.
And here is are two posts on how to write the classic 5 paragraph essay:
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Before I even started teaching I knew that one of the most difficult parts of the job would be teaching writing. It’s not that I consider myself a great writer; I know I’m prone to tangents, and I’ve never met a dash, comma, or semi-colon I didn’t want to use. It’s just that I find writing pretty intuitive. For informal pieces like this one, I tend to write the way that I talk, and for more structured academic writing my first drafts are pretty crappy—but they get written and then ironed out in my editing process. The takeaway here is that I’ve had to think hard about how to teach writing because the process of writing isn’t really one that I had to articulate before I had students. Knowing that many of you are almost ready to collect first essay assignments, I thought I’d talk a bit today about how we teach writing to students. My Wandering Essay lesson plan is one of the meanest, most productive approaches I’ve used because it makes clear the fact that writing is a process. Here’s how you do it:
Based off of the readings for the week in which you conduct this lesson plan, come up with an essay question that encourages students to make an argument (for or against). Write it on the board.
5 minutes. Break students into groups of 3. Explain what an essay’s introduction needs to do (set out the argument, introduce the reader to the sources, gesture at the essay’s counterargument).
10 minutes. Ask each group to take one sheet of paper, and together as a group, write out the introductory paragraph to their essay.
10 minutes. Ask groups to pause, and explain what topic sentences need to do. Explain what a counterargument needs to accomplish, emphasizing that although the counterargument should introduce evidence that contradicts the overarching argument, it must also explain why the essay’s original argument is more important. Ask each group to take their introduction, and pass it to the group next to them. That group is now responsible for writing the topic sentences (including the topic sentence for the counterargument) for their new essay, based off of the other group’s introduction. You should instruct them to read the introduction, write a topic sentence, skip down 3-4 four lines, write another topic sentence, skip down 3-4 lines, write another topic sentence, skip down 3-4 lines, and write the topic sentence of the counterargument. It may be helpful to draw a rough sketch of what their paper should look like on the board.
10 minutes. Ask groups to pause, and explain that together, the introduction and topic sentences should provide a road map that indicates what evidence students will use to write their essay. Ask each group to take their piece of paper with introduction and topic sentences, and pass it to the next group. That group is now responsible for coming up with the pieces of evidence for each paragraph. They may use bullet points rather than write full sentences.
5 minutes. Ask groups to pass their completed essay back to the original groups. Students should read their essay, and discuss whether or not it came out the way that they expected.
5 minutes. Wrap up the session by making several points:
1) That this exercise was difficult because students could not change the introduction or topic sentences as they wrote. Emphasize that while writing a real take-home essay, students can and should be constantly re-evaluating the argument as stated in their introduction, and the tie-ins to the argument that they’ve suggested in their topic sentences. Writing should be a process that helps students figure out their argument, and they shouldn’t really know exactly what they’re arguing until they’ve analyzed their evidence.
2) That the essays they’ve written were easy to write for two reasons: because they talked about it out loud, and because they were writing by hand. Emphasize that written work should be produced independently to avoid plagiarism, but that students can and should talk through ideas with peers, and ask people to proofread their work. You should also suggest that it can sometimes be very helpful to step away from the laptop, pull out a piece of paper, and try to draft something the old-fashioned way. Doing so sometimes yields an essay draft in as little as 45 minutes.
3) That all essays should go through several drafts before being handed in. If students follow this process, they should have time to go through another draft (at least) before the essay deadline.
There are a few ways to tweak this exercise. Our first- and second-year seminars are a very short 45 minutes, which means that there’s really only time to run the plan the way I’ve written it. If I had more time I’d break the counterargument section into its own block, and have students do it at the end, once they’d filled in topic sentences and evidence for the other essays (though I’d emphasize that a counterargument can go at the beginning or end of an essay). I’d also have groups write a conclusion, because you obviously need one in an essay.
I really enjoy running this lesson plan. A very, very small part of me does enjoy students’ look of doom when they figure out that they have to write someone else’s essay, but overall the most gratifying feeling is the look of relief on their faces when they walk out of seminar knowing that they can write a well-structured first draft in less than an hour. It’s the best way I’ve found of emphasizing writing as a process rather than a product—but I’m ready to hear your methods for teaching writing in the comments!