Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Exposing Expository Text Structure in a Rainforest Setting

Laura Hobbs


This lesson represents the first two days lessons of an expository text structure unit. In this unit students explore expository text structure through the creation of a thematic booklet containing examples of different types of expository text structures.


The student selects and uses appropriate formats for writing, including narrative, persuasive, and expository formats, according to the intended audience, purpose, and occasion.

The student uses graphic organizers and note-making to clarify meaning and to illustrate organizational pattern of texts.


-Highlighters- 1 per student
-Prepared booklets- 1 per student
-Pens or pencils- 1 per student
-Paragraph Rubric- 1 per student
-Overhead transparencies- Example of Definitional Text
-Overhead and a blank transparency as an overlay
-Vis-à-vis- 1
-Whiteboard- 1
-Whiteboard markers- 1
-Colored pencils- 1 set per student


1. Prepare booklets using the template in the attached file and a piece of cardstock as a cover.
2. Find examples of different types of text structures as introductions.
3. Set up overhead and vis-à-vis.
4. Put colored pencils out on tables for a time filler.
5. Write the names of the different types of expository text on the whiteboard in the order they appear in the booklet.


Day One:
1. Hand out booklets.

2. Instruct students to write their names on their booklet and where to put their booklets for safe keeping.

3. Discuss with students how different expository texts have different structures and are used for different purposes.

4. Show students examples of different types of expository text structure and explain that authors choose a particular text structure in order to accomplish a purpose.

5. Explain that each type of expository text has signal words that help readers identify the type of text. For example, in comparison text, an author might use the words alike, the same as, or difference, to compare one object to another.

6. Have students copy from the board the different types of expository text into the Table of Contents for their booklet. (See Attached File.)

7. Explain that today the class will be looking at definitional text structure.

8. Write the signal words for definitional text structure (is, was, were, has) on the board.

9. Show students the signal words that help them identify definitional text structure and have them copy them into their booklet on page one.

10. Show an example of definitional text structure on the overhead. See Attached File: Example of Definitional Text for Overhead.

11. Tell students you will be reading a paragraph to them that uses definitional text structure and will model locating signal words using a think-aloud strategy.

12. Read the selection to the students, underlining signal words.

13. Explain to students that graphic organizers help learners organize information in a visual manner, and certain organizers are better for certain types of text.

14. Show students a graphic organizer suitable for definitional text on the overhead. See attached File: Example of Definitional Text for Overhead.

15. Model the process of correctly completing the graphic organizer by writing the subject under the heading Object to Be Defined and the definition under the heading Definition.

16. Share criteria with students, explaining that students must highlight signal words and fully complete their graphic organizer.

17. Have students read the paragraph on page one of their booklets entitled Definitional Text and highlight any signal words present.

18. Have students use their graphic organizer to clarify the definitions contained within the text.

19. Circulate, providing corrective feedback, and document on a checklist which students have correctly identified the signal words and correctly used the graphic organizer.

20. Have students put away their booklets.

Day Two:
1. Have students open in their booklets to page one.

2. Review the definitional text structure, signal words, and graphic organizer.

3. Explain that today we will be using the same text structure, but instead of analyzing or taking apart the definition text structure, we will be synthesizing or composing a definitional text structure.

4. Hand out a completed graphic organizer for definitional text structure on a new topic. See Attached File: Graphic Organizer- Definitional Text-Teacher Provided.

5. Explain criteria for assignment. Students are to correctly use signal words and definitional text structure in the composition of a paragraph using the provided organizer.

6. Instruct students to compose a paragraph using the information on the completed graphic organizer that illustrates their knowledge of definitional text structure.

7. Allow ten minutes for students to complete. Students who finish early may use the margins and provided color pencils to illustrate their paragraph.

8. Have students pair up.

9. Distribute the rubric for the writing task and ask students to fill in the heading. See attached file.

10. Instruct students to read their partner’s paragraph and score it according to the rubric.

11. Have students review their partner’s suggestions and make any changes they feel are necessary.

12. Have students put away their booklets.


Evidence: A thematic booklet of examples of different types of expository text structures, signal words, and graphic organizers for each text structure, and a student-generated paragraph showing the students ability to use expository text structures.

Criteria: For each type of expository text structure students:
•Highlight signal words correctly within a given paragraph.
•Use graphic organizers to correctly analyze the text structure of the given paragraph, putting the topic in the correct space on the organizers and the related information in the correct spaces.
•Illustrate their understanding of a particular text structure by writing a paragraph using a completed graphic organizer on a different topic.

Formative Assessment of the identification of signal words will be accomplished using a checklist. The teacher will circulate and document which students correctly identified the signal words through highlighting and correctly used the graphic organizer.

Formatively assess the written paragraph through peer review using a rubric to determine if the paragraph demonstrates the targeted expository text structure, signal words, and information from provided graphic organizer. See attached file.


This lesson represents the first two days lessons of an expository text structure unit.
Continue exploring different text structures using the same lesson format and theme but different expository text structures.

Another extension could be to explore fictional text structures through the works of a particular author, such as Edgar Allan Poe.

Attached Files

Table of Contents for Booklet     File Extension:  pdf

1st Example for Overhead     File Extension:  pdf

First 2 Pages of Student Booklet     File Extension:  pdf

Writing Portion- Teacher Provided Organizer     File Extension:  pdf

Grading The Written Paragraph     File Extension:  pdf
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