Writing Essays in the Secondary ELA Classroom

Are you looking for some new strategies or ideas for teaching essay writing? Whether you are teaching online or in class this year, teaching essay writing is always challenging. Here are three tips for teaching students how to research, structure, and write an essay that work for in-person instruction and remote learning.

Assigning a Graphic Essay

One way that Christina, The Daring English Teacher, incorporates essay writing skills into her high school English class is by incorporating a graphic essay into her curriculum. After teaching all of the essential essay writing skills including how to properly embed quotes, how to write a thesis statement, and how to explain the evidence, The Daring English Teacher likes to shake things up a bit by assigning this alternate to the traditional 5-paragraph essay.

A graphic essay, or a visual essay, is a graphic representation of an essay. It combines all of the essay writing skills students use when writing a traditional essay along with essential career and college readiness skills of graphic design and presentation. You can grab a free graphic essay assignment sampler and read more about the activity in this post.

Starting off Right With Research

As a part-time librarian and English teacher, Addie Williams is passionate about teaching research skills and essay writing. She also knows the importance of starting students off on the right foot if they are writing a research essay. Too often students want to jump right in and start writing without fully understanding what they need to research and how to find the information. So, Addie spends time with students helping them establish an essential or foundation question before they start writing their essay. Once students have a clear goal they can then begin the research process and hopefully stay on track with their writing.

The time she spends teaching students how to plan and approach their research pays off when students are able to put together a well-researched and written essay. You can read more about how Addie approaches teaching research skills in her post HERE. You can also grab a FREE Research Planning Activity HERE to use with students with any research essay or project!

Essay Writing Escape Room 

Writing essays can feel tedious to students. Teaching essays can feel tiring to teachers. The Classroom Sparrow's one essay teaching tip is to break everything down, line-by-line. You can grab a FREE essay outline HERE.

Are you looking for a fun, new way to teach the essay writing process? You might like to try using this interactive Essay Escape Room! While this resource can be used collaboratively as a team, it can also be used as an individual assignment to assess one's understanding of the various elements that are important to the essay writing structure. The activities covered in this escape resource cover a variety of elements: types of essays, parts of an essay, 5 paragraph format, thesis statements and important essay terms.

We hope that these tips and resources help you teach essay writing as effectively as possible in your secondary ELA classroom!

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