Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Easy Essays Step 3

Dawn Capes
Bay District Schools


This is the third step in a three-step Unit Plan: Easy Essays in Three Steps, which has been designed to guide teachers through teaching the five-paragraph essay format to students.


The student organizes information before writing according to the type and purpose of writing.

The student drafts and revises writing that -is focused, purposeful, reflects insight into the writing situation;-conveys a sense of completeness and wholeness with adherence to the main idea;-has an organizational pattern that provide for a logical progression of ideas;-has support that is substantial, specific, revelant, concrete, and/or illustrative;-demonstrates a commitment to and an involvement with the subject;-has clarity in presentation of ideas;uses creative writing strategies appropriate to the purpose of the paper;demonstrates a command of language (word choice) with freshness of expression;has varied sentence structure and sentences that are complete except when fragments are used and purposefully; andhas few, if any, convention errors in mechanics, usage, and punctuation.

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


-Chart paper, white board or overhead and applicable markers
-Venn Diagram (see Associated File)
-Florida Writes Rubric (see Weblinks)
-Handouts from Associated File


1. Get overhead, chart paper, or white board.

2. Obtain transition words.

3. Make a transparency of a Venn Diagram.

4. Know that the five-paragraph essay format is only one format that students can choose to use if they would like. For the purposes of this unit, it is the one that is stressed.


Day Six of the Unit Plan: Easy Essays

1. Review concepts with students related thus far using the Adapted rubric as your guide. Now talk to students briefly about audience. Using the Venn Diagram transparency, discuss how a letter to Grandma may differ from a note to a friend. Have students share some ways a letter to Grandma would be the same and different than a note to a friend.

2. Ask students if they know who the audience is who will be scoring their FCAT Writing test. (Adults, teachers). Now, ask them what types of vocabulary they should and should not use. The teacher may want to chart this as a class on the overhead, chart paper, or white board.

3. The teacher should draw students towards discussing which types of words are overused in an essay or in writing in general. Words that should appear- good, bad, a lot, said, etc. (You may have noted overused words during your many formative assessments of student work.)

4. (Do option A or B, depending on time.)
A. Option: Now, group students and give each group a piece of chart paper and marker. Each group should be given one of the overused words. Tell students that they have exactly five minutes to come up with as many different words for this overused word as they can and list them neatly on their chart paper. They can be as creative with their resources as they would like. Once students have done this, they should choose a group spokesperson to share their results. Post around the room.
B. Option: If time did not allow for the group activity, have students share new vocabulary ideas as a whole group discussion and chart them on a piece of chart paper or on the board.

5. Now, students will take this new vocabulary and use in their essays. It may be necessary to model changes on the group essay written from prompt one. Allow about five minutes for them to do this activity. Remember they are still using the essays they wrote from the second prompt. All they are doing is inserting the new vocabulary in their essays. They are not rewriting the whole thing yet.

6. Now, refer students to the portion of the Adapted rubric which is labeled possible creative writing strategies. Talk with students about what creative writing strategies they could use. Guide them to mentioning imagery, metaphor, simile, or other applicable strategies. Using the group essay (or a made-up sentences: We went to Zoo World for our field trip. It was fun.), model how this could be made more interesting using creative writing. (We went to Zoo World for our field trip. We entered into a lush, tropical setting in which the background noises of lions roaring and birds singing, transported us into a whole new world.) Ask which is more interesting to read. Point out that now a creative writing strategy has been used, and there is a more mature command of language.

7. Now, have students insert creative writing into at least three places in their essays. Walk around the room providing assistance to those struggling or providing praise for those exhibiting great creative writing.

8. Tell them they are going to rewrite the original essay using the new introduction, transitional devices, creative writing, and vocabulary. Their essays will be scored using the same rubric. Tell students that if they see other areas where they can improve, they should take the opportunity to do so. Students will turn in their completed essays, along with any notes and changes and the original essay on the following day.

9. Once students have completed their work, the essays will be scored with the Florida Writes Adapted Rubric. Be sure to include formative feedback to students, aside from just putting the score on the paper. This is a learning opportunity, and it needs formative feedback. (See associated file for ideas.)

Day 7 of the unit, Easy Essays
Rewrite, scoring of essays
1. If students did not finish rewriting the essay on the previous day, allow them time to complete the project today.

2. Once students have rewritten their essays, have them exchange papers and score each other's work. Have them place the first score in a bottom corner and fold the corner up.

3. Have students exchange papers and repeat the scoring process.

4. Return papers to students and ask if they did better than the diagnostic. Allow them time to reflect on WHY they scored better. It may be a nice review to have students write an exit slip in which they explain how much better they did and why they think they did better.

5. Formatively assess student essays. Take a moment to write down things they did well and things they need to work on. This will help with the conferencing which will follow.

Day eight of the unit, Easy Essays
1. Students will be conferencing with the teacher about their essays. Spend a few moments (1-2 minutes) with the students conferencing with them, one on one, about what went well in the essay and what they need to continue working on.

2. For those students who have already conferenced or are waiting to conference, provide them with an opportunity to write prompts for their next essay writing opportunity. Once students have completed this unit, they will need multiple opportunities to practice and receive feedback before participating in FCAT Writing. Use the handouts in the attached file: Expository or Persuasive Prompt Ideas.

Day 9
Summative Assessment
(See Extensions.)


1. Formatively assess vocabulary by checking for more mature vocabulary selections and correct usage of the vocabulary. Formatively assess transition insertions by checking for correctness of terminology and usage.

2. Then formatively assess rewritten essay with the Florida Writes Rubric. Once the teacher has scored this, students should get their essays back and compare with their original scores. The scores should have improved!


1. Students will need to understand how to use a Venn Diagram.

2. Also, students will need to have done steps one and two in the Easy Essay process.

3. The teacher may want to have students use a Venn Diagram or paragraph to have students compare and contrast their two essays.

4. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unitís link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

Web Links

Web supplement for Easy Essays Step Three
Florida Writes Rubric

Attached Files

This file contains the handouts referenced in this lesson.     File Extension: pdf

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