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Expository and Research Writing



  Expository writing presents factual information clearly and succinctly. The writer’s goal is to explain, inform, examine, or clarify an idea or event in an attempt to increase the readers’ knowledge. The writer maintains objectivity and tries to inform rather than to persuade, argue, or interpret. The topic of an expository composition can be “almost anything” (according to Toby Fulwiler). What’s most important is how the subject is treated. When you write to explain, you are answering one or more of these questions:
• What is it? (definition)
• What happened? What does it look like? Where is it? (description)
• How is it related to other things? (comparison/contrast)
• How does it work? Why did it happen? (analysis)
• How is it held together? (synthesis) The expository essay is driven by a clear focus or controlling idea, which is supported through elaboration. The writer uses examples, anecdotes, facts, statistics, and details to explain and support the main idea.
  Expository Elements Kinsella Handout 
This handout compares the differences between narrative and expository texts. Also explains the organizational patterns you will find in informational texts.
  Writing and Reading Expository Compositions 
California Writing Project’s summary of expository compositions including the purposes, characteristics, and strategies and links to the ELA standards.
  Writing to Explain and Report 
A chapter from Toby Fulwiler’s College Writing: A Personal Approach to Academic Writing
   

  Strategies and Lessons for Organizing and Developing Ideas in Expository
and Research Writing

  Kate Kinsella’s Color Justification Paragraph 
Kate Kinsella’s Instructional Sequence for a process approach to writing assignments and a writing assignment, a color with special significance.
  How to Write a Research Question Template 
A template to help students write a research paper and two examples.
  Literal v. Research Questions Activity 
Practice for students identifying literal and research questions.
  Guidelines for Evaluating Sources 
Questions to help students assess sources for accuracy, objectivity, substance, and currency.
  Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting 
An overview of the differences.
  Guidelines for Works Cited Page 
Directions for citing sources (MLA style) and an example works cited page.
  Research Paper Outline Template 
Erin Carlson used this with seniors (at EOSA) but it is applicable to any grade level.
  Expository Paragraph Signal Words 
Kate Kinsella’s list of signal words and phrases to support expository writing and reading.
  Ranking Introductory Paragraphs Activity 
Erin Carlson’s activity of having students rank paragraphs in order to teach the components of effective introductory paragraphs.
  Expository Paragraph Template •
A graphic organizer to help students organize their ideas in an expository paragraph. (from Stephanie Robillard)
 


Persuasive Writing



  The primary aim of the writer of a persuasive essay is to “win” the reader’s agreement. S/he does this by presenting a position and authoritatively defending that position with precise and relevant evidence. In addition, a persuasive composition:
• Excludes irrelevant information and arguments
• Arranges the evidence, reasons, examples, and anecdotes, effectively
• Uses a range of strategies to elaborate and to persuade such as definitions, descriptions, illustrations, examples from
:
  About Reading and Writing Persuasive Compositions 
CWP’s one-page description of persuasive compositions.
   

  Strategies and Lessons for Organizing and Developing Ideas in Persuasive Writing

  Ideas for Developing Content 
A list of ideas to help students develop content for their essays before they begin to write.
  Essay Template for Change at School 
A template for a writing assignment, “What is something you would like to see change at your school?”
  Strategy for Responding to Counter Argument 
A graphic organizer with transition words that helps students develop responses to counter-arguments.
  Incorporating Quotations 
Handouts from Joan Cone’s workshop on persuasive writing including strategies for incorporating quotations (an argument on an argument) and conjunctions.
  Joan Cone’s Templates for Persuasive Writing 
Joan Cone’s templates for an argument to which writer brings all the data, letter to a parent, three-part argument, New Year’s resolution argument, an argument that compares and contrasts, and an argument on an argument.
  Persuasive Patterns 
Four patterns found in persuasive writing that are based on a problem, an opinion or claim, a thesis, or a process.
  Persuasive Writing Tips 
Four logic errors that students often make and how to avoid them from Meredith Pike-Baky.
  Activity Ideas for Developing Persuasive Content 
A list of activity ideas for helping teachers plan for how to help students develop content in persuasive essays. (Compiled from many sources by Stephanie Travaille)
  List of Rhetorical Strategies for Developing Persuasive Content 
A list of rhetorical strategies to introduce to students to help them identify and develop ideas and content for persuasive essays. (Adapted from Thinking Through Genre, by Heather Latimore)
  Argument and Answer to Counter Argument 
An activity to introduce students to the idea of argument & counter argument (from Stephanie Travaille)
  Argument and Counter Argument Dialogue Chart 
A great lesson to help students write a better counter argument by asking them to literally “stand in the shoes” of the person on the other side of the debate. (Adapted version of lesson by BAWP TC Leslie Moitoza)
 


Response to Literature Writing


  In a response to literature, writers demonstrate an understanding of the significant ideas within a text and are able to show that they can read a literary text with understanding, find main ideas or themes of a text, and determine the author’s purpose. In their essays, the writers create a context for the literary response by identifying the text and the author, developing a controlling idea/claim/thesis that takes a stance or posits a position, and demonstrating an awareness of appropriate audience.
  Writers may demonstrate their multiple levels of understanding of a text by making inferences, addressing ambiguities, nuance, and complexities, and by making claims based on prior knowledge, textual clue, personal experiences and related readings. To support their ideas, writers include textual evidence by paraphrasing information, using direct quotes, and selecting appropriate, relevant textual details.
  In some situations, writer must demonstrate awareness of author’s use of literary and stylistic devices and their effects. They are able to identify stylistic devices such as tone, mood, symbolism, figurative language, flashback, foreshadowing and explain the effects of stylistic devices. (From California Writing Project’s CAHSEE Resource Guide).
   

  Information about Response to Literature Writing

  Writing About Literature 
Chapter from Teaching Writing in Middle and Secondary Schools by Margot Iris Soven
   

  Strategies and Lessons for Organizing and Developing Ideas
when Responding to Literature

  Say Mean Matter 
A note-taking technique designed to help students keep track of details from the text, to clarify confusing elements of the text, and a way for students to practice summarization and analysis. It is an important pre-writing tool when students are required to integrate quotations from the text in an essay.
  Character Transformation Chart 
A note-taking chart to use when students will write about character.
  Essay Template for Response to Literature 
Template for students to compose a response to literature essay.
  Peer Review of Essay Sheet 
A peer review sheet for response to literature essay.
  Template for Evaluation of a Poem 
Template for students to compose an evaluation of a poem.
  A short story analysis frame and note-taking grid 
A frame to help students get started writing about a short story and a note-taking grid to help students keep track of how the author’s design conveys meaning. (from BAWP tc Joan Owen)
  A practice CAHSEE Response to Literature prompt 
A scaffolded approach to help students deconstruct a CAHSEE prompt and write about “The Hiking Trip.” (CAHSEE released item)
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