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Sitting down and writing an essay often causes students to get stressed out! By using the “Bones of an Essay” poster created by WeAreTeachers and Zaner-Bloser, students will have no trouble at all.
First, introduce the poster to your students and explain each step by using body motions to reinforce them.
Body Moving With “The Bones of a Good Essay”
- Solid base: Have students stand up straight and tall with their feet together and their arms at their sides. Make the point that without bones we would collapse! Our essays need a good structure, starting with a strong thesis statement.
- Outline: Have students put their arms and legs out and do the wave. Before we start writing, we need to outline our main points. Our essays must have an introduction, body and conclusion.
- Strengthen: Have students bend their arms and legs and flex. Just like our bodies need strong bones, so do our essays. We don’t want brittle essays that fall apart! Think about word choice and be descriptive. Strong words that express rather than impress will keep your audience mesmerized!
- Cool down: Have students sit down, put their hands on their heads and move them around in a circular motion. Our craniums and brains need a break! Return to your essay with fresh eyes.
- Check it: Have students stand up and point to their heads and move their index fingers down to their toes. Check, check, check: At this step, you revise and edit. After you thoroughly look it over, have a peer proofread your work. Then, check with your teacher.
Essay Task Cards
After you go over the poster, give each student a black-and-white copy of the original poster. Students also each get their own set of Essay Task Cards to help guide them through the process. Each step is segmented out for easy understanding and is available in color or black and white. When students are working, they flip to the card to represent which step they are at. You can walk around the room and see exactly where each student is.
Find Someone Who… (Collaborative Learning)
While students are working, suddenly call out, “Find someone who is on the same step as you,” or “Find someone who is a step ahead of or behind you.” Students look at their task cards and check with their peers. When they find someone, they work together and provide an extra set of eyes to offer ideas and guidance.
Since Halloween is coming up and your students are learning the bones of a good essay, have them apply their skills by writing a narrative essay about visiting a haunted house or an opinion essay about why they do or do not like haunted houses. See if your students can remember the bones of a good essay without the help of the poster or their task cards! Eek!
Looking for more? We have nine free Strategies for Writers lesson plans complete with teacher and student pages!