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Helping young essay writers flourish!

Helping young essay writers flourish!

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Helping young essay writers flourish!

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  1. Helping young essay writers flourish! Grades 3-5

  2. Four key points to growing as an essay writer: • Answer the question that’s being asked! • Planning for multiple essay types • Supporting thinking with evidence • Elaborating on thinking

  3. Don’t skirt the issue! • Answer the question that’s being asked! • Build at home by practicing deconstructing questions: • 1. What are the POWER WORDS in the question? (command words, nouns) • 2. Say the question in your own words.

  4. Deconstruct the question… • Describe the struggles Cesar Chavez faced in trying to reach his goals.

  5. In other words… • Tell with details the problems that CC encountered when he tried to make his dreams come true.

  6. • This ensures kids are processing the question and interpreting it accurately; they have to think about it more than once and be able to put it in their own language. • You can even practice this at home with basic requests! • Check that your child is answering the question you’re asking them, “Jacob, did you put your clothes away?” “Mom, I’m so busy, I need to meet my friends!” (NOT answering the question!!) • Have them translate your question, “Jacob, did you put your clothes away?” “Did I move my shirts and pants into my closet?”

  7. Planning is powerful! • Once you figure out what the question is asking you to do, then you can more easily make a plan. • Most essays require an intro and conclusion, and 2-3 body paragraphs. • Some essays ask kids to write about one text in isolation, kids should aim to be writing about two.

  8. A bevy of essay types… • Thematic (Prove your own or a provided theme) • Literary (Craft moves: HOW does an author convey a theme?) • Compare and Contrast (OR just compare or contrast in isolation) within both narrative and non fiction texts • Change over time (narrative and NF, how has a character changed? How has an aspect of society or the use of something changed?)

  9. Powerful planning… • Next, make a quick plan; what will the purpose of each paragraph be? Take the type of essay into consideration. • Though essay types vary, there’s consistent meat that they all require.. • An introduction with a strong CLAIM that answers the question being asked • 2-3 big reasons that support that claim, each unpacked in it’s own body paragraph • Varied evidence that supports each reason • Elaboration to unpack and explain the evidence • A conclusion that hammers home the claim and big reasons

  10. Introduction: • Introduction sets the stage for your reader. • Answer the question being asked (make a CLAIM), use the question words to help your phrasing. • Roll out the 2-3 big supports to your claim. • Intros and conclusions need NOT be lengthy!! Get to the meat in the body paragraphs.

  11. Evidence, it does a body paragraph good. • Body paragraphs are each dedicated to one of the 2-3 big reasons that support your child’s initial claim. • Supply several pieces of text based, varied evidence that PROVES the claim. • Elaborate on each piece of evidence… • What does that evidence MEAN in your own words? (In other words… What this really means is…) • WHY is that evidence important? (This is crucial because… This is essential because…)

  12. In conclusion… • Conclusions hammer home your BIG claim • They touch back on your 2-3 reasons that support the claim • They can wrap up with a compelling quote or question to ponder

  13. Call the support line… • Support your claim and big reasons with evidence from the text!! This is KEY. • This BEGINS with reading and jotting about the text in a purposeful way. • (Issues revealed, central ideas, cause and effect, prob/solution, changes/turning points, to name a few) • Going jot crazy will bog us down, stick to these landmarks! • Annotate and abbreviate, don’t waste time making lengthy jots.

  14. Supports that are strong! • Children are expected to cite strong and varied evidence in their essays, evidence that best supports and matches their claims and reasons. • For instance, if a child is writing a thematic essay, they should aim to cite evidence from ACROSS the text. If the text allows, in non fiction writing, kids should aim to cite varying types of evidence: stats, quotes from professionals, etc. In fiction or narrative, kids should be citing evidence from multiple points in the text (ie. Not JUST from the beginning of the story). • Evidence need NOT be super lengthy, find the core of the evidence that best proves your point.

  15. Say more about that… • Elaborate on your thinking!! This proves that kids have an even better command of the text if they can say it in their own words and show that it’s important to their claim. • Kids need to articulate what their evidence means and why it is important. • This is similar to phrasing a question in your own words, it aids in and ensures thorough processing (thinking about it multiple times) and shows command of knowledge and info. • “This means... In other words… What I’m really trying to say is…” • “This is important because… This is essential because…”

  16. What can I do?! • Lots! Here’s how you can support at home: • Encourage purposeful reading. Kids should ALWAYS be reading with post its, most likely their teacher will soon do many lessons and give them post-iting GUIDES which they need to be referring to at home. This WON’T be internalized or made second nature without consistent practice!! • Practice deconstructing questions at home, they DON’T have to be test questions! This gets your child comfortable with rewording and translating questions, helps in processing, etc. • Encourage your child to be utilizing strong claims, evidence, and elaboration across all subject areas! Your child’s teacher will give them a guide to reading notebooking, they should ALWAYS be pursuing a claim or idea, supporting it with evidence, and elaborating on their evidence. • Don’t get test-tracked! Essay writing is part of growing and developing as a good writer, not just a skill utilized to pass a test! If kids are practicing purposeful reading and thorough writing throughout the year and at home, things like state tests will be second nature! 