Teaching Essay Writing In High School

If you are an educator who has been tasked with teaching essay writing to high schoolers, do not lose hope. There are resources out there at your disposal. For many (not all) high school students, essay writing can be quite an arduous task, and if it is not properly taught then the student will suffer in the long run.

Teaching Tips for Essay Writing

There are many ways that you can approach the task of teaching essay writing. The main thing that you should do is keep an open mind. While you should not ignore the basic rules of essay writing, you should also come up with your own approach to making the teaching process and the simultaneous learning process productive for both you and the students in your class.

Usually high school English classes require a basic five paragraph essay as the standard for testing a student’s writing ability. The best way for you as an educator to convey this is by breaking the paragraphs up into smaller parts. Students will better be able to digest the brunt of the lesson when you break each paragraph up. In doing this you can actually put together a mini outline as a means of illustrating to your secondary students how to effectively write an essay.

Thesis and Writing the Essay

It is not unusual for students to feel intimidated by having to write an essay. That is why it is up to you as the educator to put their inquisitive minds at ease.

  • Have each student select a thesis by asking them to write down a few strong or even argumentative sentences. 
  • If the task is to write about a book, then you should pick out five statements as relevant to the storyline of that book. This will definitely eliminate the tension and stress that surrounds the whole notion of navigating through a book for a thesis.

The key to teaching secondary school students about writing is to ease their tension at all costs. So initially, the more tools that you provide them with, the better off they will inevitably be.

Examples and Guides

  • Once you have five statements about the book written out, you should select one to use as a guide for the class.

Let’s say (for the sake of illustration) that you are reviewing the book The Count of Monte Cristo; you can draw a few strong statements from that book, such as “revenge can be bittersweet.” 

As the educator you can either choose to expand upon that phrase or just leave it as is and allow the students to draw examples from the book in support of or against the phrase. Revenge is a pinnacle theme in that particular book and as you illustrate the idea your outline will first reflect the thesis being “revenge is bittersweet” and the supporting paragraphs that are either in favor of or against the thesis. 

  • Illustrate how each paragraph in the essay would need to begin with a topic sentence. So if the first paragraph is an introductory paragraph that presents the thesis, the second, third and fourth paragraphs, will each need to begin with a topic sentence in support of the thesis. 
  • Emphasize how the students should use quotations from the story in support of their stance. You can do this by having at least six quotes that you have pulled from the story that are either in favor or in opposition of the thesis.
  • If you give the students a paragraph a day to complete along with their outlines for homework within a week’s time you will be surprised how fast they will catch on and desire to learn more.
  • The fifth and last paragraph should be a conclusion type of paragraph that ties everything together and verifies that the thesis was actually proven. This is probably the easiest paragraph that students will write because they can draw from their other paragraphs.

As long as you encourage creativity and integrity in the classroom, your secondary students will thrive when writing their essays.

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Teaching Essay Writing in Secondary Schools

By YourDictionary

If you are an educator who has been tasked with teaching essay writing to high schoolers, do not lose hope. There are resources out there at your disposal. For many (not all) high school students, essay writing can be quite an arduous task, and if it is not properly taught then the student will suffer in the long run.

 

Flickr - University of Central Arkansas

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.

Essay Map

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.

 

Writing Essays

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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