Lessons For Teaching Essay Writing Digitally!

If you're looking for a way to teach text-based writing DIGITALLY for middle school, then you need to read this post!

With “back to school” looking like distance (digital) learning or at least blended learning, I began to think how I would teach writing to my middle school students.

I know that students need a structured plan to develop a well-organized, logical piece of writing with proper citation, so I went to work!

First I started with writing texts. This way I could ensure they were meaty enough without being too long.  For the informative unit, the text set is based on National Parks and Monuments:  Mount Rushmore and Pipestone National Monument.  For the argumentative unit, the texts are based on the lost city of Atlantis.

Text-based DIGITAL Essay Lessons that are Ready to Use!  Just assign through any learning management system!

Then I made some notes. The idea is students can use these to look back on whenever they write an essay. The notes I made are interactive guided notes on Google Slides. They’re a blend of traditional two-column notes with fill in the blanks for key ideas on the right and spaces for picture flaps to serve as memory cues on the left.

You don't need a course on how to make essay writing lessons digital, you need ready to use lessons for your middle school students!  Find out about them here!
Next, I made videos that match the notes and embedded them into the slides. Besides revealing the words that go in the blanks on the notes, I explained and showed how to read and mark the text, how to cite evidence, how to write commentary, and more! 

The best part of the videos is the fact that students can watch some or all of the videos as much as they want. This is great for students that are learning English. Plus they serve as a great reference for later on down the road.

Together the notes and the videos teach the writing process, introduction paragraph, body paragraphs, counterclaim paragraph and argumentative essays, and the conclusion paragraph.

The writing process section teaches students to read the prompt, flip the prompt (by turning the prompt into a thesis “skeleton”), and read mark the text. Later, after we have gone through all the pieces and parts of an essay, the writing process will pick back up with planning, editing and revising.  There is a video for planning AND for learning how to use the planning to write the essay!

How would it feel to have 2 weeks of lessons done (per unit) and to know that you have set a firm foundation for writing essays in a distance learning/blended learning situation?
The introduction paragraph section teaches students the hook, the bridge transition sentence, and the thesis.  This is a foundation of the minimum of what an introduction must have.

The body paragraph section teaches students to write a topic sentence, evidence citation sentences, commentary sentences, and a conclusion sentence that flips the topic sentence.

In the argumentative unit, the counterclaim paragraph section teaches students to feature the other side, affirm with evidence, underscore the essay's position, cite evidence, explain with commentary and write a conclusion sentence.

The conclusion paragraph section teaches students to affirm the thesis, trim the point, and end with a call to action.

All together there is a lot of video instruction with texts, digital guided notes and self-grading Google Forms quizzes along the way.

How would it feel to have 2 weeks of lessons done (per unit) and to know that you have set a firm foundation for writing essays in a distance learning/blended learning situation?

Try a FREE SAMPLE of my argumentative unit by clicking here.

Try a FREE SAMPLE of my informative unit by clicking here.

If you’re ready to save time, energy, and frustration by trying to make all of this yourself, Click here to see the units in a money-saving bundle.

I hope these units help you teach your middle school students how to write a text-based essay through distance/blended learning and give you more time to be available for your students!

Thanks for stopping by!


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