But, as you all know, I teach 5th grade. Writing one, single paragraph, no matter how good it is, is just not enough. The standards (Common Core or otherwise) call for MULTIPLE paragraph essays, so I was stuck in the same situation as before.
I had always done the "I Do, You Do" method of essay writing. I would guide the students through the entire writing process, modeling every step of the way. It would produce nice essays. The problem: cold, prompt writing. They just couldn't do it without me. This really is unacceptable. It is not good enough if they can produce writing WITH me if they can't do it WITHOUT me. I haven't done my job as a teacher.
So I have wracked my brain, trying to figure out a way to teach my kids how to write a good, organized, coherent essay...the same way they do with one paragraph. How could I make Paragraph of the Week extend to multiple paragraphs, no matter the genre? After months and months of thought, I found it. Essay of the Month.
It is based on the same principles as POTW. Students write a little bit each day, using graphic organizers to help them along the way. They start with the body, and then move on to the introduction and concluding paragaphs. All the while, they keep the prompt in mind. Students use checklists and rubrics to help them revise and edit until they ultimately end up with a published final draft.
We just finished our first full essay (which was a narrative, in case you were wondering) and they came out GREAT! The kids took what they learned in POTW and applied it to their EOTM. During our daily review of the essay, the kids were discussing their writing, revising, and making it better. I am so so so happy with how it is all working out! We are now on to informational writing and everything we have done is falling into place!
I think by focusing on the STRUCTURE of writing (as all genres basically are the same as far as structure goes...it is the craft of it all that changes them) I am better able to help my students create good, basic essays. Now that they have the structure down, craft has become a focus where we can work on things like voice and style.
|Can you see the organizers they use to make the body paragraphs?|
To help you get your hands on both of these programs, so that your students can become successful writers as well, I have bundled them together at a discounted price in my TpT store! It is $5 off the price of buying both of them (and the licenses, if you want to buy more than one copy for your site to use, is even cheaper!)
How do you help your students transition from single paragraph writing to multiple paragraph essays?