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How To Write A Good 5th Grade Essay

When it comes to writing, fifth grade is a red-letter year. To prepare for the demands of middle school and high school writing, fifth graders should be mastering skills required for strong nonfiction writing. Learn more about your fifth grader’s writing under Common Core. All students should be learning three styles of writing:

Informative/explanatory writing

Reports that convey information accurately with facts, details, and supporting information.

Narrative writing

Stories, poems, plays, and other types of fiction that convey a plot, character development, and/or personal stories.

Opinion writing

Writing in which students try to convince readers to accept their opinion about something using reasons and examples.


Fifth grade writing sample #1

Bipolar Children

This student’s report starts with a decorative cover and a table of contents. The report has eight sections, each clearly labeled with a bold subhead, and includes a bibliography. At the end, this student adds three visuals, two images from the internet with handwritten captions and a related, hand-drawn cartoon.

Type of writing: Informative/explanatory writing

 


Fifth grade writing sample #2

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Dylan’s report is thorough and well organized. There’s a cover page, an opening statement, and four clear sections with subheads, including a conclusion. You’ll see from the teacher’s note at the end that the assignment is for an opinion piece, but Dylan clearly writes a strong informational/explanatory piece, which is why it’s included here.

Type of writing: Informative/explanatory writing

 


Fifth grade writing sample #3


Outlining Essays (Grades 3-6)


Brainstorm before you start writing.

Teach students to brainstorm story ideas in preparation of writing an expressive essay.

OBJECTIVE
Students will brainstorm story ideas in preparation of writing an expressive essay.

MATERIALS

  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Dry erase board (optional)
  • Dry erase markers (optional)

REPRODUCIBLES

  1. Outlining Essays (Grades 3-6) Student Reproducible

DIRECTIONS
1. Review the definition of personal expressive writing (writing that allows you to express your own thoughts and feelings through a letter, journal, essay, etc.) with students. Tell students that they will be preparing to write their own expressive essay on the topic: Why does your teacher deserve a classroom makeover?
Lead a discussion about the elements that make up an expressive essay. Use the following example to illustrate these elements:

Introduction: Begin your essay by stating the main idea. In an expressive essay, the main idea will be a personal experience, belief, or feeling that is meaningful to you. One way to hook your reader is to express your main idea with a short personal account of an important event in your life.

Body: The body of your essay supports your main idea by using examples. Be sure to describe your examples clearly so that your reader will understand your position, or point of view.

Conclusion: The conclusion of your essay should summarize your main idea. Restate your feelings and beliefs to make sure your main idea is understood.

2. Distribute copies of Outlining Essays (Grades 3-6) Student Reproducible (PDF). Have students complete their outlines in preparation for writing an essay in Lesson 2.

LESSON EXTENSION
Bonus Challenge: Have students make a graphic organizer to plan their essay. They may begin by writing their main idea in a circle. They may add additional circles or "webs" to describe their supporting details and conclusion.

Marker Tips: Illustrate outlines on the dry erase board. Have students take turns using different colored dry erase markers to fill in the title, main idea, opening sentence, details 1-3, and summary sentence.


Photos, top to bottom: © Image 100/Getty Images; © Photodisc/Getty Images.

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