Expository Essays For Middle School Students

The ability to provide information in different contexts is essential to effective communication. Students must practice expository writing throughout their academic careers. The sooner they start, the better. Below are some descriptive, sequential, compare and contrast, cause and effect, and problem/solution writing prompts to help you give your students the practice they need.

Descriptive

  1. Write an essay describing your school to a potentially new student.
  2. Write an essay describing the appeal of reality TV shows.
  3. Write an essay describing a rainy night.
  4. Write an essay describing your first pet.
  5. Write an essay describing your first memory.
  6. It’s Christmas morning and there is a package under the tree containing exactly what you requested. Describe the contents of your package..
  7. Write an essay describing how you feel when you wake up and discover snow on the ground outside — and school has been cancelled.

Sequential

  1. Writing an essay explaining the process you use to style your hair in the morning.
  2. You have invited your two best friends to spend the afternoon at your home. Write an essay telling how your prepare for their visit.
  3. Everyone has lost something at one time or another. Write an essay telling what you did to find what you had lost.
  4. Describe how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  5. Tell how you wash your hair.
  6. Describe the plot of your favorite book.

Compare and Contrast

  1. Write an essay comparing and contrasting ownership of cats and dogs.
  2. Compare and contrast this year in school to last year.
  3. Compare and contrast your two favorite characters.
  4. Compare and contrast your family’s home and the home of your dreams.
  5. Compare and contrast a typical day in your life today and what you think a typical day in your life will be like when you are 25.
  6. Compare and contrast your two favorite teachers.

Cause and Effect

  1. Write an essay telling how peer pressure has affected you this year.
  2. Write an essay explaining what causes students to drop out of high school.
  3. Discuss the causes and effects of bullying in schools.
  4. Discuss the causes and effects of poverty in rural (urban) areas.
  5. Discuss the causes and effects of drug or alcohol use on families.

Problem/Solution

  1. Most students do not read or watch news, resulting in a lack of knowledge about the world outside of their immediate neighborhood. Write an essay describing why this is a problem and telling how this problem might be solved.
  2. Think about the community in which you live. What could you do to make it a better place? Choose one problem that needs to be solved to make your community a better place to live. Write a letter to the editor describing how solving this problem would make your community a better place, and tell what you would do. Give reasons why you think your plan would work.
  3. Think about what you could do to make your school more beautiful. Think about how you would do this. How could you persuade the people in your school that your idea is a good one? Write a letter to the principal of your school asking for support for your plan for making your school more beautiful. Tell what you would do and how you would do it. Explain why you think your plan is important and why it would work.
  4. Think about animal abuse. Some people abuse animals by being intentionally cruel to them or neglecting their basic needs; others abuse animals out of ignorance. Think about what could be done to prevent both kinds of animal abuse. Write a letter to leaders in your community describing how you would solve this problem, and how treating animals better would improve the lives of animals and people. Explain why you think your plan will work.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma graduate student, and a NBPTS candidate. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify my students’ voices and choices.

Filed Under: PedagogyTagged With: expository writing prompts

Descriptive Details

Frequently, students write very simple, basic sentences that provide few, if any, descriptive details to the reader. This lesson focused on adjectives and adverbs can be fun and informative at the same time.

First, review with students the function of adjectives and adverbs. Remind them that adjectives describe nouns--the names of people, places, things and ideas--while adverbs describe verbs--the action of the sentence--and adjectives. Ask for a few examples of each, with students providing both the modifier and the word it is modifying (blue ball, etc.)

Divide students in pairs for the practice activity. Give each pair a three-to-four word sentence, like “The dog barked.” Partners alternate adding an adjective or an adverb to the sentence to make a more vivid and visible word picture. Allow groups to compete to see which partnership can produce the longest, yet most coherent, sentence.

For more advanced writers, allow them to also add prepositional or other descriptive phrases. Encourage them to consider using similes, metaphors, and other figurative language.

With these three ideas, your students will be well on their way to producing informative and interesting exposition, both in and out of school.

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