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Writing an Expository Essay

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1 Writing an Expository Essay

2 Expository writing explains your thinking in a clear and complete way.
Expository = Explain Break down the word: Expository comes from expose. To expose something means to show it. Expository writing means to show your thinking.

3 Introduction to Expository Writing
In order to classify as expository, an essay needs: to explain/discuss a particular subject matter a thesis statement at the end of the introduction that answers the prompt strong evidence that backs up the thesis statement (in the body paragraphs) a conclusion that makes a final thought for the audience

4 STAAR In your ANSWER DOCUMENT, you have 26 lines to write on for each essay. You must write your essay on the correct page of lines so that it is graded. In your TESTING BOOKLET, you have 2 ½ pages for practice and drafting space. You can work there, but the essay needs to be written in your answer document before your test is picked up for the day.

5 1. To show good paragraph organization, indent your new paragraphs
1. To show good paragraph organization, indent your new paragraphs. To indent means you start the new paragraph about ¼ to ½ inch (about 1cm to 1.5 cm) inside the edge of the paper. 2. Do not skip lines. Start on the top line and use all the lines until you are done. Remember to show when you have begun a new paragraph. 3. Try to write words per line. If you use 26 lines with 10 words per line, that gives you 260 words to explain your thoughts. It is not necessary to fill every line, but it is necessary to completely develop your thinking.

6 Just tell me what I need to do to pass!
Well alright then! You’ll need: A short introduction paragraph A clear, strong thesis (answer to the prompt) Body paragraphs explain a clear real-life example A conclusion paragraph that restates your thesis using different wording Don’t fill up your page with nonsense, but do try to fill up the page with well thought-out, concise wording. No wasted words!

7 Structure Four total paragraphs
Introduction (keep it brief, and end with your thesis!) Body Paragraph #1 ( example in support of thesis) Body Paragraph #2 (2nd example) Conclusion (1-2 sentences to bring your essay to a close)

8 Understanding the Prompt
Read the “Write” portion of the prompt first. The prompt will be presented with a “Read” part first, a “Think” part second and a “Write” part third, but you can choose to read the “Write” part first. Don’t forget to read the other parts, but it might help you understand more if you start with the “Write” part and focus on the assignment. Highlight the words in the “Write” part so that you know exactly what to do. Ask for the prompt to be read aloud. Use a dictionary to help you understand words. Ask for clarification of the prompt, if possible.

9 Think of expository in this way: it is logical and informative.
*The expository prompt page on the STAAR test typically has a lot of text. Think of expository in this way: it is logical and informative.


11 Turn and Talk: Why do you think the state created the prompts this way
Turn and Talk: Why do you think the state created the prompts this way? Does a Read-Think-Write prompt help you? How or how not? Turn and Talk: Why does the state give you the reminders of “Be sure to…”? Turn and Talk: What could you write about that would fit this prompt?

12 Sample Prompt for Expository Writing
In 1955 medical researcher Jonas Salk introduced an effective polio vaccine. At the time polio was considered the biggest threat to public health, yet Salk refused to profit by patenting the vaccine because he was more concerned with preventing disease than with personal gain. Although many people work to benefit themselves, some people choose to put others first. Think carefully about this statement. Write an essay explaining why people should be more concerned about others than about themselves.

13 Steps to Complete Before Writing the Expository Essay
Write an essay explaining why people should be more concerned about others than about themselves. 1.) Construct a thesis statement that directly answers the prompt in a single sentence(last sentence of your introduction). 2.) Create a “hook,” which is the opening sentence you will use to begin your entire essay. 3.) Brainstorm examples that you could use in the body paragraph (you will see how to do this soon).

14 Student Introduction Examples

15 Although it is important to help others when possible, it is also essential to put oneself first in life. After all, we all have one life, and each person’s main concern is his own choices in life. Strong or Weak WEAK WHY?? There is no clear thesis statement. This will lead to a weaker paper.

16 Helping another person with a difficult task is a great thing to do
Helping another person with a difficult task is a great thing to do. However, most of us are too busy with our lives to take time for others. Even though it is easier to mind our own business, it is honorable and caring when a person goes out of his way to help another person. STRONG Strong or Weak WHY?? Interesting introduction with a clear thesis statement- we know what to expect from this essay!

17 Sometimes helping others matters more than one’s personal gain
Sometimes helping others matters more than one’s personal gain. Although people work to benefit themselves, they should always put others first. People should be more concerned about helping others than themselves because it is the right thing to do. Strong or Weak STRONG WHY?? Good clear thesis statement; there is a good transition sentence to lead into thesis statement.

18 Why should people put others before themselves
Why should people put others before themselves? Why should they, who don’t have everything they want but don’t necessarily need in their life, stop for someone less fortunate? Strong or Weak WEAK WHY?? All rhetorical questions; no hook sentence; no thesis statement – VERY weak

19 Brainstorming before Writing

20 Brainstorming before Writing
News/History World Events Books/Movies School/Community

21 Writing an Effective Body Paragraph
Give a specific example that helps explain your thesis in each body paragraph. Do not make your whole paper sound like an introduction paragraph. Begin your body paragraphs with a topic sentence. Body paragraphs develop one clear, specific reason or example for believing your thesis statement to be true. Convince your reader to see things as you see them.

22 Body Paragraph Examples
Personal Historical Current Event Movie or book Popular culture

23 Body Paragraphs You MAY use first-person since you will be using a personal example. HOWEVER, do not use phrases like “I think” or “I believe.” DO NOT use “you.” DO NOT make your personal example into a narrative. You aren’t telling a story; you’re simply referencing something in your own experience to support your thesis. DO NOT make up your personal example.

24 Body Paragraphs Use five to eight sentences to develop your idea in each body paragraph. Indent each paragraph, but only use a small indent in order to save space for yourself. Make sure that your examples are SPECIFIC.

25 Body Paragraph Example
During September 11th, when the terrorists attacked the World Trade buildings, Americans of all races and ages helped each other escape the crumbling buildings. The fireman and police worked overtime and put themselves in danger from the dust and piles of building scraps to help pull the injured out from under the rubble. These men and women gave everyone hope in their heroic, selfless acts. Their actions reveal that it is admirable to put others first.

26 Another Sample Body Paragraph
It is important to care about others because then other people will like you. Everyone wants to have friends. Caring is part of friendship. This student received a bad score because the body paragraph is too vague. What does that mean?

27 Yet Another Sample Body Paragraph
A nurse will spend most of her or his day caring for hurting people. Nurses are one example of people who put others first. Too vague! Develop the idea! Your paragraph must develop the idea of the nurse helping the sick. This is an okay start, but it’s certainly not a paragraph. Please don’t do this to me

28 The Last Example of a Body Paragraph
The Red Cross is an organization that helps people in need. For example, they respond to hurricane or tornado victims with places of shelter, blankets, clothing, and food. The Red Cross people are volunteers that make life bearable in times of emergencies. It is important to help people in tough times; one never knows when he or she will need assistance. This should be the look on my face when I read your expository essay…

29 STAAR Scoring Your essay will be read by two test readers who will grade it with a number between 1 and 4. The two numbers will be added together and that is your essay score. For example, if two test graders both give you a 2, then your score is a 4. If one test grader gives you a 2 and one test grader gives you a 3, then your score is 5. This is for essays only. Short answers/OERs are graded differently.

30 So what is the top possible score of both graders together?

31 What about Spelling and Grammar?
Yes, your control of language counts, but remember it is part of the overall message. If you make errors and they do not take away from the overall message you are communicating, you can still receive a high rating. The idea is that your language choices and use should add to the overall essay meaning and presentation.

32 Turn and Talk: Why is language control important?

33 1 2 Discussion of the STAAR Expository Rubric __________________________ Look at the rubric in your packet! 4 3

34 Time for YOU to be the STAAR GRADER!

35 Thinking about others before you is a nice thing to think of, but if you think of yourself first it makes you feel isolated. Caring about others before you isn’t a bad thing, but thinking about yourself isn’t bad either. To me I think of others before me. Some people have the good life, others don’t. I’ll rather put myself in danger than others being in danger as well. I’m only one person but risking myself could save more than one life. When your in a room where there seems to be a fire some people will think of themselves while others think of the rest. The doctor could risk himself of getting polio but he could save hundreds of lifes that currently have polio. To me people that think of themselves before others are selfish and maybe greedy, but others that think of others are kind people.

36 What would you rate this essay?
1 2 3 4

37 What would you rate this essay?

38 E-books revolutionize the way we use literature by making permanent online copies of books, making books easier to access, and covering a larger selection of books than a local library would. Many civilizations throughout history have had vast libraries of literature with valuable knowledge of their culture. However, many historians cannot access these collections because many have been ruined through natural disasters or by human hand, such as libraries being burned down. These civilizations did not have permanent and indestructible versions of their texts such as we do today. We can now rest assured knowing that future generations can see digital copies of our own books by simply downloading them off the internet. E-books have helped me on several occasions. We were studying a novel in school a couple of years ago, and my class was assigned an essay over the novel. I did not have the novel with me when it was assigned, and the local library did not have it either. Thankfully, an online copy of the book was available. I could finish my assignment confidentally with a copy of the book on my computer. Not only was it easily accessible, it was readily available even when the library did not have it. E-books have changed the way we use literature. All texts and novels can be permanently saved, easily accessed and unanimous browsed through the power of the E-book.

39 What would you rate this essay?
1 2 3 4

40 What would you rate this essay?

41 Humanity has a funny way of contradicting itself sometimes
Humanity has a funny way of contradicting itself sometimes. All children are taught to share and put others’ needs before their own. Somewhere down the line, there is the realization that the very people who preach these things to children do not follow their own rules. It is very important in society today to remember the bigger picture, which often includes doing things to help others with no benefit to oneself. People need to realize that volunteering is a worthwhile and necessary part of life. Some people think to help others means giving money when really it is about donating time to help others. Organizations like Houston Food Bank and the American Red Cross are always in need of volunteers. For these organizations to be successful, they need people to donate their time. Our society becomes a better place when people choose to make a difference. Soldiers know the value of helping others. They are trained to assess difficult situations and devise the best plan to succeed. Their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way displays their concern for others. Because of their sacrifice, the world is a safer place. Doing something to help others leads to emotional or moral gain. On the other hand, doing something for monetary gain is just like money itself: easily expendable and transient. The memories and feelings one gets from helping others will never go away. It is worth something. Worth more than money ever could be.

42 What would you rate this essay?
1 2 3 4

43 What would you rate this essay?

44 Today, technology continues to reach higher levels know one thought could be reached before. These new ideas and inventions can have a huge impact on peoples lives. Now that sounds far fetched, but the reality is that peoples lives can change completely because of one button or click. For instance, with the elderly. Most old people tend to slip or fall at one point or another, and what if no one is home and they cant get up? Well, technology has allowed seniors to get help without moving. They have a button around there neck and when pushed a ambulense comes almost imeditly. This could be the diffrence between life and death for some people! But with this technology people wont have to worry about there parents in a retirement home. Or seniors can have the freedom they want and deserve. So lives can be changed by technology from little things to big things.

45 What would you rate this essay?
1 2 3 4

46 What would you rate this essay?

47 Sample Prompt for Expository Writing
Kevin Pearce suffered a violent crash that shattered his dream of participating in the Olympics and left him with a severe brain injury, facing long odds of a successful recovery. Pearce, who was a rising star and considered a favorite to win a medal in snowboarding at the Vancouver Games, remembers nothing about that December night in As he was preparing for the Olympic trials, something went awry while he was airborne, and he slammed his head on the lip of the icy halfpipe. He worked tirelessly at rehabilitation, ultimately regaining his speech and vision, while trying to reclaim enough balance to one day ride his snowboard again. That would be his personal Olympics. “There are bigger things in life than snowboarding,” he said during a recent interview. “What’s so cool, though, is that I’ve been able to deal with it.” He recently got back on his snowboard and his ride was remarkably smooth, his turns crisp. He smiled a lot and his personality shone. It was a good day on the slopes, one of the best days yet. VIDEO

48 Sample Prompt for Expository Writing
Some individuals show remarkable strength and determination when faced with hardships and obstacles in life. Write an essay explaining how determination can help individuals overcome significant odds in the pursuit of a dream.

49 Your TURN! -Construct a thesis statement (which is a direct answer to the prompt) -Construct your “hook” that you will use to begin your paper -Think of your different examples that you will use in your essay.

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