Writing From Experience (Grades 7-12)
Brainstorm before you write.
Teach students to brainstorm in preparation for writing an expressive essay.
Students will brainstorm about autobiographical experiences in preparation for writing an expressive essay.
- Pen or pencil
- Dry erase board (optional)
- Dry erase markers (optional)
1. Review the qualities of essay writing (a formal expression of your ideas) with students. Point out that an essay can persuade, inform, or express feelings to an audience.
2. Lead a discussion about the key elements in essay writing. Explain that an essay needs to have an introduction, body, and conclusion. An effective introduction provides a thesis statement that clearly expresses the main point of the essay. It also orients readers to content, perspective, and tone. The body of the essay should include all of the specific details and examples that will support the thesis statement. The conclusion should concisely summarize the main theme of the essay and reinforce your ideas.
3. Explain to students that they will be using autobiographical experiences to write an expressive essay to submit in the Classroom Makeover Essay Contest. Provide examples of the many ways in which fiction writers draw on their personal experiences for inspiration.
4. Distribute copies of Writing from Experience (Grades 7-12) Student Reproducible (PDF) and read the introduction together. Give students ten minutes to complete the worksheet.
5. Have students review their responses to Writing from Experience (Grades 7-12) Student Reproducible (PDF). Then have them write notes and brainstorm other ideas or details for their essays. Instruct them to keep their notes, as they will be used for Lesson 4: Drafting and Revising Essays.
Bonus Challenge: Ask students to think of their favorite book author and share their thoughts with the class about how this author draws on personal experience to be a creative writer.
Marker Tips: Have students take turns illustrating their life experiences on the board using dry erase markers. Have other students in the class guess what the drawings depict.
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